Coordinated by ICE and Homeland Security Investigations, the raid led to some 280 arrests.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid led to the arrests of hundreds in Collin County, Texas.
According to KERA News, agents detained 280 employees at an Allen technology repair company. The investigation and subsequent raid was the largest staged by ICE in nearly a decade.
Homeland Security says it received tips that CVE Technology Group was hiring masses of undocumented immigrants. The company, notes KERA, specializes in cell phone repairs and refurbishments.
Sources alleged that “many of the individuals employed at CVE were using fraudulent identification documents.”
An audit of the company’s I-9 hiring forms uncovered regularities, prompting ICE and HIS take to action.
“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” said Katrina W. Berger, Homeland Security’s Special Agent in Charge in Dallas. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”
Berger says the ongoing criminal investigation will look into how workers were treated.
“I can’t say this is happening in this case,” Berger said, “but it’s ripe for exploitation of an illegal workforce.”
The Star Telegram reports that HSI may take or initiate action against CVE’s management.
However, the migrants too may face some repercussion ranging beyond civil action. Berger says they could be indicted for identity theft and the use of fraudulent documents.
Homeland Security Investigations officials said that arrested employees will be interviewed by ICE staff to determine whether they’ll remain in custody or be considered for humanitarian release. One way or another, any workers deemed illegally present in the United States will be fingerprinted and marked for deportation.
KERA News adds that ICE intends to pay some consideration to “humanitarian situations,” including medical emergencies and migrants’ family ties.
The arrests, which began midday Wednesday, were partially captured on camera. Local media outlets claim that ICE agents could be seen handcuffing workers and directing them to several waiting buses. Employees believed to have work authorizations were outfitted with green wristbands and sorted separately from their undocumented counterparts.
CVE, says Dallas News, recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Riverdale, New Jersey to Allen. While it’s unclear how many employees the company currently has it, CVE was hoping to have a total workforce of around 1,200 by the end of the year.
Along with cell phone repair, CVE also handles projectors, DVD players and other consumer electronics.
The arrests prompted some concern among members of the community. By Wednesday afternoon, a crowd possibly numbering in the hundreds had assembled outside. Some were anxiously awaiting word from relatives while others had come to protest ICE’s mass arrests.
Representatives from RAICES, a nonprofit immigration advocacy group, passed out “know your rights” pamphlets. The organization, notes Dallas News, provides legal services to immigrants and was offering free consultations to anyone detained.
Dallas immigration attorney Eric Puenta told the News that undocumented workers caught up in the raid will probably be able to request bond in two to three weeks. Doing that is the first step in making a case to prolong their stay in the U.S., provided they lack a prior criminal record.
Puente also indicated that mass arrests and sweeping raids fell out of favor until the Trump took the White House. His predecessors, former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were more inclined to administrative audits and bureaucratic action.
“This administration has moved away from audits and started using these tactics of raids that I hadn’t seen since I was a child,” Puetne told the Dallas News. “I think the raid is more of a sensational way of reaching a certain objective, but I don’t know what the government’s objective is.”