At least 11 Beaufort County residents were detained this past week by the Department of Homeland Security's Enforcement and Removal Office, according to reports from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, which assisted the federal agency.
The operation appears to be part of a national effort by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to locate and detain foreign-born residents who have committed “immigration violations.”
Nearly 200 people were detained this week in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. About a third of those arrests were in South Carolina, according to Bryan Cox, spokesman for ICE's southern region.
Those detained from Beaufort County include:
• Mateo Campos-Rodriguez, Juan Alberto Gomez-Cortes, Carlos Galindo-Vargas and Sabastain Gallegos-May, who were located and detained Tuesday on Hilton Head Island.
• Ambrosio Adame-Maldonado, Fontino Mancera-Gonzalez and Jonathan Romero-Delgado, who were located and detained in the Bluffton/Hilton Head Island area Wednesday.
• Sergio Benvavides-Ramos, Jose Manuel Parra-Camacho, Adan Benavides-Ramos and Candelario Benavides-Ramos, who were detained early Thursday morning in the Lady’s Island area.
Sergio Benavides-Ramos, Parra-Camacho, Adan Benavides-Ramos, Candelario Benavides-Ramos, Campos-Rodriguez, Galindo-Vargas and Gomez-Cortes appear to be detained at ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga., according to the ICE.gov detainee locator.
It is unclear where the remaining suspects detained in southern Beaufort County were taken, though as of Saturday evening their names do not appear in the Beaufort County Detention Center's jail log.
As of Saturday evening, Cox was unable to confirm the names and present locations of the Beaufort County detainees. Nor could he say how many local residents have been detained so far or what charges they face.
According to an earlier report, ICE expects to release more information Monday.
In the meantime, family members and concerned citizens can go to ICE.gov and use the detainee locator to find loved ones. The locator requires knowledge of a detainee’s country of origin.
ICE’s presence in Beaufort County this week has caused panic among those in the Hispanic community and immigration activists. Numerous residents posted concerns about “raids” being organized throughout Bluffton, Hilton Head Island and St. Helena Island.
Aimee Deverall, an immigration lawyer in Bluffton, told The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Friday her office has been flooded with tips of ICE agents detaining people in all of those locations. As of Friday, Deverall said she and other attorneys were trying to find out who ICE officers were searching for and how many had been detained.
“From what we can tell, a lot of these (detained) people had old deportation orders, and that’s why they were already in the system,” Deverall said.