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Census Bureau Frets About INS Raid

March 18, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) _ A U.S. Census official expressed dismayed after federal authorities conducted a raid and apprehended 140 suspected undocumented immigrants.

Adolfo Echeveste, manager of the Census 2000 office for eastern metro Phoenix, said the raid at a house Thursday in Mesa, Ariz., could interfere with efforts to count people who may already fear the government.

``The timing of it was most unfortunate,″ Echeveste said in an interview with KTAR-AM. ``We in the federal government have been spending millions upon millions of dollars to point out that everyone should be counted, whether they’re here legally or otherwise.″

The Immigration and Naturalization Service is supposed to keep a low profile while Census 2000 is being conducted, he said.

But the INS said the raid was in line with policy since it stemmed from a police tip.

``We have no intent to plan operations in areas where the census is being conducted. But if we get calls from police, we are obligated to help them,″ INS spokesman Russell Ahr told The Arizona Republic.

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