Dame La Mano Shelter Reopens After Raid
Bianca Delilah Cervantes
September 4, 2012
EL PASO — A shelter that’s come under fire in years past became the subject of an ICE raid Tuesday morning.
The Dame La Mano shelter on Virginia Street was shut down, and dozens of children and parents were moved out as documents and boxes of evidence began to fill the trucks of Homeland Security Agents.
“We can’t share a lot of information regarding this investigation because it is an ongoing investigation, however I can tell you that both search warrants that were executed are part of an ongoing criminal investigation,” said ICE Spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa.
Raids ensued both at the domestic violence shelter on Virginia Street and at the home of Dame La Mano’s co-director, David Arellano.
“They could check everything they want,” Arellano said. “They checked my house, they check everything. We don’t have nothing to hide. The only thing we do is help. That’s the only thing we do.”
It’s not the first time Arellano’s been in the news. A separate shelter the Dame La Mano Family Crisis Center in South El Paso was shut down more than a year ago around Christmas time for code violations.
For Tuesday’s raid, Arellano blames one person.
“That Cortney Niland, city council rep, opened an investigation,” he said. “She tried to open a police investigation, and that didn’t go through, and then she opened an ICE investigation . She has something against us.”
She accused Arellano and the shelter of taking advantage of residents before. The El Paso Police even opened an investigation, but no charges ever came of it.
Now the shelter will wait and see on the outcome of this investigation.
We reached out to Cortney Niland but were unable to get in contact with her.
As far as the city code enforcers, they cited Dame La Mano for several violations including electrical and plumbing issues.
Dame La Mano is open now, and they have 30 days to fix their issues.