Immigration arrest outrages some residents

August 12, 2008 8:04:28 PM PDT
Sheriff's deputies arrested a library worker after they say she used false documents to work in Alamance County.But some in the community are calling it a witch hunt for illegal immigrants and they're blaming the sheriff's department.

The young woman was brought into America illegally when she was 3-years-old. She has lived in the U.S. 20 years and was working at the graham public library when she was arrested.

Marxavi Martinez, 23, is in federal prison for using a fake social security number and living in the U.S. illegally.

But that's not why some, including Martinez's friends, are outraged.

"We've just decimated this family and I can't see the purpose. What have we accomplished," friend Marilyn Tyler said.

"This girl came over here when she was three years old, this has been her home, she's gone to school here, she's made friends here. It's totally unjustifiable," library patron Wayne Roberson said.

Some feel Martinez was targeted by the sheriff's office after a state probe into the Alamance County Health Department.

Martinez was treated there before and there is fear her medical records were abused.

"The informant that we're working with here, is a county employee but does not work for the health department, has no access to medical records of any sort, has in fact never seen the medical records. This was all just verbal information that came to them," Alamance County Sheriff's Office Randy Jones said.

Tyler is getting a group together to defend immigrants like Martinez. She fears the sheriff's department is overstepping their legal boundaries.

"I hate the idea that they are fearful that they are going to get picked up, because they are either driving too slow or too fast, or their card isn't just right. People are afraid," Tyler said.

The sheriff's office does have the legal right to check the immigration status of inmates, but they say they didn't target Martinez --they simply passed her information along to immigration.


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