“There have been rumors of immigration doing raids, there have been arrests, but it’s the U.S. marshals who are picking up absconders and other people who have outstanding warrants.”
That’s according to Diego Bonesatti from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
At a meeting intended to notify the Hispanic community of proposed immigration changes Bonesatti said Rockford detectives gave him this new information. He went on to say white vans similar to those operated by Immigration Services were driving around Monday looking for specific people who already had warrants out for their arrests. Though this does shed some light on the cause of panic, it does little to calm the nerves of those affected.
Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson told 23 News that U.S. Marshals are continually in operation in Rockford. Whether or not they were carrying out operations Monday is still unknown. U.S. Marshals do not regularly communicate with the Rockford Police Department.
Between possible U.S. Marshal activity and the already tense feeling among Hispanics, many people could have easily jumped to conclusions, causing panic for thousands of local immigrants.