Authorities in Rockford are still trying to make sense of the rumors about Immigration and Naturalization Service activity in Rockford. Hundreds of local Hispanics didn’t show up for work. Hispanic children were pulled out of class by their families, and all this commotion for what turned out to be false rumors.
Over 100 people organized outside City Hall during the city council meeting Monday night. Mayor Morrissey and several city aldermen held an impromptu press conference to try and calm the nerves of the crowd.
It is possible that people were driving around posing as immigration officials, but nothing has been confirmed. INS authorities say no activity is taking place in Rockford.
Outside City Hall Mayor Morrissey assured the crowd, "I would be extremely upset if I found out INS in the midst of this national debate that’s being waged, was involved in an operation that creates panic in our community."
It was also rumored that the Rockford Police Department was picking up illegal immigrants on Monday and holding them in the basement of the Metro Center. This was another false accusation.
Tuesday Rockford Chief of Police Chet Epperson told 23 News the last thing police want is for people to be afraid to leave their homes for any reason, especially because of possible harassment from police.
According to Epperson, local police have neither the authority nor the desire to round up illegal aliens.