Feds’ ICE box for investigators only | PostIndependent.com

Feds’ ICE box for investigators only

Taxpayers searching for one of their federal buildings in Glenwood Springs will have a hard time finding the thing when it’s built.

The new Glenwood Springs Quick Response Team office on West Midland Avenue won’t have a sign out front, according to Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Nina Pruneda.

“It’s not a customer-service-based office,” Pruneda said. “It’s for an investigative unit.”

The Quick Response Team office will be located at the Midland Center subdivision, which sits across Midland Avenue from the Glenwood Springs Municipal Operations Center, and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Glenwood Springs maintenance facility.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already obtained a special use permit for the building from the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission.

Plans for the ICE office include 2,100 square feet for processing and support, a 1,376-square-foot garage, and a 438-square-foot holding area to detain suspected illegal aliens for a maximum of 12 hours.

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is part of the new Department of Homeland Security. The agency took over the duties of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, known as INS, which no longer exists, Pruneda said.

Congress authorized the old Immigration and Naturalization Service to establish Quick Response Teams in 1999, said Kate Malapanes, the ICE resident agent in charge.

“This is nothing new,” she said from her Grand Junction office.

Malapanes said Quick Response Teams respond to requests for assistance from local law enforcement agencies. “Our primary concern is the smuggling of human loads on the Interstate, and individuals who are booked into local jails,” she said.

When individuals suspected of being in the United States illegally are taken into custody, they can voluntarily return to their own country, or argue their case in front of an immigration judge, Malapanes said. Suspects can be released on bond while waiting for their case to be heard.

There are seven Quick Response Teams spread through Colorado and Wyoming. Beside the Glenwood Springs office, there are teams in Grand Junction and Craig, Pruneda said.

The Glenwood Springs office has five officers: three are investigators, and two are for transport.

Malapanes said she doesn’t know when the new Glenwood Springs office will open, but “the sooner the better.”

The local Quick Response Team has been operating out of several rented facilities since 1999.

“The new facility will be more user friendly for us,” Malapanes said.

On Aug. 4, the Garfield County Commissioners approved a $192,000 annual contract for the county jail to house ICE detainees who have overstayed the 12-hour limit at the federal holding facility. Malapanes said the jail contract has nothing to do with ICE opening a permanent facility in Glenwood Springs.

“They are two distinct things,” she said.

Contact Lynn Burton: 945-8515, ext. 534


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