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Homeland Security

05 March 2003

New U.S. Immigration Bureau Arrests Suspected Human-Rights Violater

(Jaime Ramirez held for killing human-rights activists in 1988) (380)
Washington -- An immigration bureau in the new U.S. Department of
Homeland Security has arrested a Honduran man wanted in the killings
of two human-rights activists in Honduras in 1988.
Jaime Ramirez, 48, was arrested March 4 at his home in Miami by agents
of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being
charged with the murders of the human-rights leaders. The ICE said
Ramirez was part of a Honduran death squad known as Battalion 3-16,
which has been accused of abducting or killing more than 180
dissidents who opposed Honduras' military government in the 1980s.
Ramirez is being held at Miami's Krome Detection Center, pending
deportation proceedings. A Honduran court charged Ramirez with the
murders in San Pedro Sula of Miguel Angel Pavon Salazar, who headed a
human-rights group, and Moises Landaverde, a teachers-union official.
An ICE spokesman in Miami said Ramirez was the first person suspected
of human-rights violations arrested by the bureau since it began
operating under a new name March 1. It is one of three bureaus that
replaced the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on that
ICE's mission includes pursuing immigration and customs
investigations; protecting U.S. borders and the U.S. population from
terrorist activity and from the smuggling of narcotics and other
contraband; and interdicting and detaining illegal aliens who are
awaiting removal or other dispositions of their cases.
The ICE said Ramirez' arrest is the result of an ongoing effort by the
bureau "to identify, apprehend, and remove human-rights violators who
have no legal right to remain" in the United States.
"This individual will go through the judicial process and be placed in
removal proceedings," the ICE said. Ramirez was the 46th suspected
human-rights violator to be arrested since the inception of a U.S.
investigation in 2000 aimed at detaining and deporting foreign torture
suspects, the ICE said.
James Goldman, ICE's interim district director in Miami, said "the
identification and removal of human-rights violators is a clear
priority" not only for the INS in years past, "but now for the Bureau
of Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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