25 illegal immigrants denied entry to Shaw
Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 6:00 am | Updated: 11:37 pm, Thu Jul 15, 2010.
Twenty-five suspected illegal immigrants were detained Wednesday morning after officials said they arrived to work at Shaw Air Force Base with improper identification, and two were later identified as fugitives and are in custody in Charleston.
About 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Palacio Drywall of Cornelius, N.C., tried to bring in a group of workers headed to one of the many ongoing construction projects on the base, according to a Thursday press release from Shaw Air Force Base. Airmen with the 20th Security Forces Squadron made note that some of those workers presented improper identification and were denied entry. Security forces then discovered a lack of documentation and called the Sumter Police Department.
Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson said Thursday that "all we did was go out there and assist" security forces at the base. Patterson said the police department turned over the investigation to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
Temple Black, an ICE spokesperson based in New Orleans, released a brief statement Thursday afternoon noting that ICE agents responded and encountered 25 illegal immigrants.
"Out of the 25 individuals encountered, two were identified as fugitives and detained and are currently in custody in the Charleston County Detention Center," he said.
The remaining 23 people were checked out and released on their own recognizance, he said.
Col. Charlie Moore, 20th Fighter Wing commander, said Thursday that all protocols were followed exactly as they should be, and there was no security breach at any time. He said the subcontractors were headed to the east side of the base, but he was unaware of the specific location.
"The individuals in question are not allowed back on the base," he said, explaining that an investigation is ongoing "to determine exactly what we do."
One outcome of the investigation, he said, would see Palacio Drywall being barred from future work on the base.
A recorded message indicated no one was available at Palacio Drywall on Thursday.
"I'm extremely proud of the work the Security Forces Squadron did," Moore said. "They did their job, which is stop people who are not authorized from being on the base.... I'm just proud our guys did exactly what they were supposed to do."