Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a trailer manufacturing plant in Sumner, Texas, and arrested at least 160 suspected undocumented immigrants.
The raid was the agency’s largest at a worksite in a decade.
Agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations division conducted the raid at Load Trail after they reportedly received tips the company employed workers that had fake immigration documentation.
The special agent in charge of HSI’s Dallas office, Katrina Berger, reportedly called the people “illegal aliens who are unlawfully working here in the United States at this business.”
Dennis Perry, a Load Trail factory worker and a witness of the raid, said the agents who raided the plant were armed and surrounded the area from everywhere. He added a number of workers tried to hide behind shelves but were soon taken into custody.
“They drew their guns and told everyone to hit the ground,” he added.
Under former President Barrack Obama, ICE did conduct large-scale raids. However, the large sweeps were reduced after agents raided a meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa, in 2008 and arrested more than 400 workers.
However, the practice has become increasingly common under the Trump administration as a part of its wider attack on undocumented immigrants.
John Sandweg, the former ICE acting director, said, “I think of all the populations, people showing up for work are not public safety threats. That’s who these folks are — showing up for work. It’s just going to continue to add to the backlog of immigration courts.”
“I think this is the tempo now. Employers need to be on guard. ICE is looking for targets where there are a high volume of undocumented immigrants and businesses with a low-wage workforce,” he added.
Recently, more than 130 undocumented workers were reportedly arrested in raids led by ICE.
Another massive workplace raid was conducted in an Ohio landscaping company, where 114 of its employees arrested. Prior to the raid, officials rehearsed the operation, expecting some commotion due to the high number of people.
At the location, which is covered with trees, greenhouse tarps, and a variety of plants and flowers, nearly 100 law enforcement agents surrounded the location. Agents expected that some employees would try to flee, no one did.
The immigration officials under the Trump administration have made 1,659 criminal and administrative worksite-related arrests between October 2017 and July 2018. That is over five times the number of such arrests made in past fiscal year.
As records show, the agency is likely to conduct more raids and arrest more people. Moreover, most of these men and women are not criminals and are just working hard to earn a living. The administration, however, is portraying these people as criminal in order to justify the arrests.
The people who are arrested by the ICE are taking up jobs that most Americans refuse to take. They are not stealing anything or killing anyone, they are just trying to make ends meet, but unfortunately, the action is landing them in detention.
Spotlight, Banner: US Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Handout via REUTERS