Saturday, November 03, 2007

Fake letters spark immigration fears

Arlington: Feds say cash demand sent to Latinos' apartments is a scam

ARLINGTON – Latino residents of Arlington apartment complexes say they received letters threatening a visit from federal immigration agents if they didn't send $95 cash to a post office box.

"People have fear, and more than anything because of what is happening in Irving," said Ruby Valenzuela, assistant manager of the Las Lomas apartments, where at least four residents said they found the notices from the nonexistent "Immigration Citizenship Enforcement" agency taped to their doors.

Carl Rusnok, regional spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that his agency did not send the bogus letters.

María Elena García Upson, spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Dallas, said people who receive such letters should contact government offices.

"We are living [in] very turbulent times in regards to immigration," she said.

The letters, written in English on official-looking letterhead, ask that the recipients send the money to a post office box in Dallas to help start the citizenship process.

"If the amount is not received in 14 days, you can get a visit from an ICE agent," the letter warns.

"When I saw it posted on the door and read it for the first time, I felt very scared," said one homemaker who spoke on the condition that her name not be used. "One cannot do anything with something like this."

Giovani Estrada, a tenant and employee of the Park Row apartments, said he also received a letter, and about 10 residents at the complex had asked him to translate the letters they received. Mr. Estrada, a permanent legal U.S. resident, said the letter looked real. "People were terrified," he said.

Source: DallasNews

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