10 Ecuadorians, the American Dream Becomes a Nightmare
By Gloria Medina
Ten Ecuadorians, all members of the same family,
face deportation, after being detained by FBI agents during a raid made on two
apartments in Queens.
On the morning of May 29, the Paguay family got out of
bed in the Immigration Detention Center in Lower Manhattan. They only told
us to get dressed, to put on our shoes, said Segundo, a member of the family.
Later we saw that they brought my sister in law and two others from the
other apartment, he added.
The reasons for this are confused, but according
to the immigrants, who are free after paying a total of $100,000 in bail, they
were detained and threatened with deportation because of their humble origins
and being undocumented.
The only explanation that they received was for
being illegal indicated Lui Paguay, a 27 year old, who supports his wife
and two children in Ecuador.
According to documents from the Immigration and
Naturalization Service, the Paguays were scheduled to appear before an immigration
judge June 27, where it was to be decided whether they would remain in the country
or be deported.
FBI Confirms Arrest
On the other side, a spokesman
for the FBI, Jim Margou, told this newspaper that ordinarily, when we make
an arrest, there must be a complaint or a formal accusation. But he added
that the FBI would verify what the basis for the arrests were.
The Paguay family
came to this country like thousands of other immigrants with the desire for a
better life and have worked as day-laborers in order to pay for the debts they
incurred for the trip to the United States and to support their families in their
They say that to come here is the American dream, but
when you live through these things yourself, it is horrible, said Edgar
Paguay, 21, one of those who were arrested.
According to Segundo Paguay, 23,
this was not the first visit the FBI made to the familys home.
one month before, they came with a photograph of a man, asking if we knew him.
None of us recognized the man and we were told to be careful because he was very
dangerous, and they left, he added.
Arrest Without Motive
were arrested only for appearing undocumented, but without any motive, until later
when they discovered that they did not have documents, said Stella Figueredo,
director of the American Federation of Immigrants, which has offered free legal
services to the family.
We dont have any account with the law, but
we need to stay here to pay our debts and continue supporting our families in
Ecuador, said the youngest of the Paguay brothers.
According to the superintendent
of the apartment building, Eduardo Ortega, the FBI agents had been asking about
one man who looked Ecuadorian and therefore were directed to the Paguays
And of course, if they entered to ask and saw so many people
in an apartment so small, what are they going to think? said Ortega, who
described the Paguays as very respectable people.
Thorn, spokesman for the new office in charge of immigration issues, the Bureau
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in New York told El Diario/La Prensa,
that he could not discuss any specific case. In general, it could have been
that the office of immigration was looking for a fugitive individual, that there
was a definite expulsion order and it was never presented, he added.
to the spokesman, if during the investigation, someone was discovered to have
violated immigration laws, the agents would have the obligation to
arrest them and give them a warning so they would appear before an immigration
In such cases, the individuals in general are not detained and
have the right to legal representation and only the immigration judge can expel
them from the country, said Thorn.
But the spokesman could not explain
why the 10 members of this family were detained for two weeks until they posted
Translated from Spanish by Charlotte Triggs.
to The Citizen Page