19 Illegals in Custody After Immigration Sting

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Nineteen illegal immigrants are in custody, busted during an immigration sting on Interstate 70 this morning.

It happened at 8a.m. near mile marker 22 in Mesa County.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Colorado State Patrol say it took only minutes to stop a van full of nearly 20 illegal aliens.

Immigration agents took the illegals into custody. The detainees are headed to the Moffat County Jail to spend the night.

This is a very different story from an August 7th immigration stop when state patrol officers pulled over a van of illegals and had to let them go because I.C.E. never showed up.

Representative Steve King says today's bust is a step in the right direction, but I.C.E. has a long way to go. He says the biggest problem is a lack of holding facilities for illegal immigrants.

I.C.E. cancelled its contract with the Mesa County Jail last month and had already cancelled its contract with the Garfield County Jail, so the closest facility is 150 miles away.

When 11 News spoke to I.C.E. they were hesitant to talk about a lack of facilities to house illegal immigrants and acknowledged that it doesn't respond to every stop.

Representative Steve King says he will meet with the Colorado State Patrol and immigration officials next monday. He's promising to work on new legislation to address some of these issues.

Last month King wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to help change federal policies on detaining illegal immigrants. 11 News called the White House today to see if the President had read the letter, but was told the spokesperson who would handle the issue was out sick. King is still waiting for a response to the letter.

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