Some are questioning the way Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are handling arrests in Fairfax County after at least two men were arrested near a church shelter.
Oscar Ramirez said he had just left the hypothermia shelter at Rising Hope Mission Church on Russell Road in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, Virginia, when about a dozen ICE agents surround him and other Latino men.
"'Stop right there. Stop right there. Stop right there. Stay by the wall, where we can see your hands,'" the agents said, according to Ramirez.
The group of men had left the shelter about 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8 and crossed the street when the ICE agents ordered them to stand against a brick wall.
Ramirez said the agents questioned all of them and scanned their fingers to find out if they had criminal backgrounds. Agents quickly cleared Ramirez, who has a green card, he said.
But he and other witnesses told News4 that about six Latino men were arrested and taken away in two vans that pulled up to the area where they had been stopped.
"This is the first time I see something like that," Ramirez said.
"It surprised me. I mean, I think it surprised a lot of people who seen it actually happen," said Marvin Roach, a guest at the church shelter.
"They were clearly targeting the church because they knew that they stayed here in the hypothermia shelter. So they were waiting for them to cross the street and then jump on them," said Rising Hope Mission Church Rev. Keary Kincannon.
An ICE spokeswoman said the agency's "sensitive location" policy was followed. The policy requires agents to avoid arresting people at places of worship, schools and medical facilities. The spokeswoman emphasized the arrests took place across the street from the church and not on church property.