Tag Archive: ice raids


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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Ohio raided another company and said 146 workers were arrested as part of a year-long investigation into Fresh Mark, a northern Ohio meat supplier.  ICE officials raided the company’s plant in Salem, Ohio, about 4 p.m. Tuesday. Search warrants also were served at three other locations in the state.  An ICE spokesman said the investigation continues and could result in additional charges. He did not rule out charges against Fresh Mark employees who may have hired workers in the country illegally.

Fresh Mark was once touted by the government as a partner in preventing hiring undocumented workers. Under the Obama administration, ICE announced the supplier was the first Ohio company to partner with a program meant to “curtail the employment of unauthorized workers,” according to a 2012 news release announcing ICE’s partnership with Fresh Mark. “We are honored to be selected by ICE to participate in this program,” Fresh Mark human resources director Mark Sullivan said in the news release. “For nearly a decade, Fresh Mark has proactively partnered with the government to ensure the integrity of our workforce and the IMAGE program will be a tremendous addition to our future employee verification process.”

Under the program, called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE, employers can voluntarily partner with the agency by taking steps to weed out undocumented workers. They must use the government’s E-Verify system, which checks employees’ I-9 employment eligibility status and create hiring policies.  After the June 19th raid, ICE said the company may have knowingly hired undocumented workers and many are using fraudulent identification belonging to U.S. citizens.

Immigration officials lined up dozens of workers, many dressed in white helmets and smocks, outside the meat-processing plant in rural Ohio.  An ICE spokesman confirmed that about 60 workers at the Fresh Mark plant in Salem who were detained have been released.  Workers who are in the country legally but did not have proper documentation with them at the time of the raid were released after officials determined they are authorized to work in the United States.  ICE officials said they also released several workers for health and family reasons and other humanitarian concerns.

The remaining 86 workers detained in the raid are being held at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center on Hubbard Road and the Geauga County jail while they await deportation proceedings.  The men were sent to the East Side private prison and the women were sent to Geauga County.  Sister Rene Weeks, of St. Paul Parish in Salem, said the majority of those detained in the raid were Guatemalan nationals who fled violence in that country and they comprise a large percentage of Salem’s immigrant community.  She added that those released for humanitarian reasons included parents who had children left behind after the raid as well as one woman who is several months pregnant and another who has leukemia.  “They were pretty terrified when the raid happened and relieved to be back with their families, but they are also worried about what comes next,” Sister Rene said.  Sister Rene said many of those who were released met with immigration lawyers Wednesday at St. Paul Parish.

ICE has carried out several such raids in recent months. Two weeks ago, it arrested 114 workers at a gardening company’s two Ohio locations. In April, ICE raided a meatpacking plant in rural Tennessee and arrested 97 immigrants. In January, ICE raided dozens of 7-Eleven stores nationwide, arresting 21.

 

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In line with President Trump’s Immigration orders to prioritize deportation of immigrants who have committed crimes – immigration officials have arrested more than 600 people across the U.S. last week in a series of raids. The arrests took place in at least 11 states, including California, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.

About 160 foreign nationals were recently arrested in six counties in the Los Angeles area, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. An additional 200 were arrested last week in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. And about 200 were arrested across Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.

The actions are the first concerted effort by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Trump administration to arrest targeted undocumented immigrants for deportation proceedings.  “All these people are in violation of some sort of immigration law,” an official said, adding that some of their convictions included rape and aggravated assault.

While immigration officials maintain that only routine actions targeting criminals were underway, fear has spread among immigrants and their advocates. Officials said the raids targeted known criminals, but they also netted some immigrants without criminal records.

Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), said they were part of “routine” immigration enforcement actions. Christensen said the raids, which began Monday and ended Friday at noon, found undocumented immigrants from a dozen Latin American countries. “We’re talking about people who are threats to public safety or a threat to the integrity of the immigration system,” she said, noting that the majority of those detained were serious criminals, including some who were convicted of murder and domestic violence.

Immigration activists said the crackdown went beyond the six states DHS identified, saying that they had also documented ICE raids of unusual intensity during the past two days in the states of Florida, Kansas, Texas and Northern Virginia.  Activists also said that undocumented immigrants with no criminal records were arrested and could potentially be deported.  This has sent a shock wave through immigrant communities nationwide amid concerns that the U.S. government could start going after law-abiding people.

Trump substantially broadened the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target to include those with minor offenses or no convictions at all.  He has pledged to deport as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records.  On Sunday, President Trump tweeted, “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”