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Activists, family members call for release of immigrants

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Phoenix, Aug 19 (EFE).- Activists and family members called Monday for the release of 30 workers who remain in custody after an operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at carwashes in the Phoenix area.

"My husband is no criminal, he was just working and it's not right for them to do this to us," Laura Torres, the 26-year-old wife of Juan Carlos Reynoza, one of the detained workers, told Efe.

With her baby girl and 3-year-old son, she appeared Monday before the ICE offices in Phoenix to ask for the release of her husband, who continues in detention because he had twice previously been deported.

"When he spoke to me he said they are pressuring him to sign his voluntary departure and that any minute now they're going to send him back to Mexico," she said.

Reynoza has been living as an undocumented immigrant in the United States for seven years.

ICE said in a press release that the operation at 16 Danny's Family Carwash locations is related to a criminal investigation of the company's owners and is not targeting undocumented workers.

A total of 223 people were questioned during the raids.

Fourteen people - four U.S. citizens and 10 Mexicans - were arrested on federal charges, while ICE took 30 undocumented immigrants into custody for processing based on their prior criminal and/or immigration histories.

"This is one of the biggest raids that ICE has made in Arizona and the entire United States," Natalie Cruz, a representative of the Puente group, told Efe.

Activists are focusing on the cases of people like Reynoza, who is categorized as a "criminal" by ICE because he was previously deported.

"People who have been deported before and who have returned to be with their children and their families should not be considered criminals," Cruz said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130819/activists-family-members-call-release-immigrants