This article originally published by Tim Paynter as ICE Raids Amway Bus But Won't Eat Humble Pie on Technorati.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) thinks Amway is smuggling illegal immigrants from Denver, Colorado, to Omaha, Nebraska, disguised as salesmen. At least, that must have been the theory of Super Secret ICE Agent (SSIA) Linda Minze.
On April 2nd, 2010, SSIA Minze was working under cover in Omaha, Nebraska, disguised as a McDonald’s customer. All of a sudden a Greyhound Bus pulled into McDonalds and the passengers got out, very suspicious.
Protesters ask, "what does an undocumented worker look like?"
SSIA Minze is fluent in Spanish so she used her best under-cover technique to sashay up to the passengers and eavesdrop on their conversations. All the while she pretended to be an unhappy McDonalds customer who got stuck waiting in line behind a bus load of Spanish speakers.
Using her 19 years of field experience, SSIA Minze deduced the people on the interstate Bus had been traveling for a long time. That was her first clue she had come across “a smuggling load” of illegal aliens. She also concluded “the dress of the individuals” was consistent with people who were riding on a Bus for a long time and that made them likely to be undocumented workers. Minze was probably excited about winning the title of SSIA of the month.
After ordering an egg McMuffin with extra hot sauce SSIA Minze called her pals. A battalion of officers showed up including two officers, one who parked immediately in front of the bus and one immediately behind. That gave the officers plenty of time to get their own breakfast burrito before the “smuggling load” could get away.
The officers patiently waited for all of the "undocumented workers" to board the bus. It is a state secret how ICE knew no one would get suspicious about ICE vehicles blocking the bus, and make a run for it. You would have to be a US citizen Amway salesman to get onto a bus being blocked by ICE.
Then SSIA Minze sprung her trap. She approached the coyote masquerading as a Greyhound Bus driver. He explained Amway chartered the bus to drive the people to the Amway convention in Omaha. The passengers were dressed nicely because the convention was at the Hilton Hotel. SSIA Minze didn’t buy his story. They looked like undocumented workers to her.
The Amway salespeople were told to turn off their cellphones so no one could call the radio or television stations to witness the government make a fool of itself. After barking orders and checking several I.D.'s no undocumented workers were found.
Considering how little SSIA Minze learned in 19 years of service, she must have worn egg McMuffin on her face plenty of times. It is the peeling the egg off in public she wanted to avoid. With patrons watching, the super agent had to arrest someone! What would all of those voters who back border security candidates think?
SSIA Minze arrested the entire bus, including those who had produced identification to show they were US citizens. The “coyote” was commanded to take the bus to ICE headquarters. Once there, the Denver Amway people were subjected to intimate body pat downs, including everyone's crack and los juevos for the men. I am not going to tell you what they did to the women. After insuring no contraband or undocumented workers were hiding in body parts, the Amway conventioneers were placed into ICE holding cells to wait for fingerprinting and positive identification.
ICE put the entire bus through hell, humiliating the passengers and arresting them without probable cause. Now, it was time for SSIA Minze to peel the Egg McMuffin from her face. At least no one from McDonald's was there to see when SSIA Minze released the entire bus, no doubt telling them if they had dressed like Gray Hound Bus people, instead of Amway people heading for the Hilton, this would never have happened.
Denver ICE has been abusive in some of its practices, as well. Read about a botched Denver raid HERE.
Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) will save millions of dollars on experienced ICE officers. It would eliminate the need for under-cover officers at McDonalds.
The Denver ACLU, whose attorneys sometimes assist the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) has filed suit. At least one passenger plans to peel green backs out of the US government agency which humiliated the Amway conventioneers. Most would prefer to be treated as equal citizens than sue, but Confucius say, why cry over spilled eggs, when you can laugh all the way to the bank!
Photos from Tim Paynter private collection.