Just this week, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers made 114 arrests of undocumented immigrants working at a gardening business in Ohio. This is one of the most extensive workplace raids in recent history. Due to the increase in immigration enforcement, it may be difficult for those arrested to fight back, even with the help of an experienced immigration lawyer.
What Are the Details of the Raid?
In April of this year, ICE arrested about 100 people at a Tennessee meatpacking plant; the workers were allegedly in the US illegally.
This week’s arrests were of employees at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center, located in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio, according to Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for ICE’s Northeastern region (which includes Ohio, Michigan, and Upstate New York.)
When reporters contacted Corso by phone and email attempting to get a statement about the sting operation, the person answering phones said no one was in the office and available to speak to reporters, according to CNN.
Immigration Advocates Needed Following Renewed Focus
This massive arrest may not come as a shock to voters, considering President Trump’s aggressive stance on the illegal immigration issue, specifically his promise to increase crackdowns on businesses who hire undocumented “illegal” immigrants. In fact, back in October of 2017, Tom Homan, the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said he ordered the investigative unit of ICE to “increase worksite enforcement actions by as much as fivefold,” according to CNN.
Homan shared that those actions would target the employees and employers in violation of current immigration laws. He told a CNN reporter, “Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers.”
Tearing Families Apart
One of the family members of an arrested Corso’s worker spoke with a CNN affiliate and shared, “My soon to be brother-in-law was deported this morning. He was brought here as a young boy. He’s worked at Corso’s for many years. They paid him good money. By no means did they pay him what they think immigrants should be paid. They paid him good money. He did a good job and worked hard to provide for his family. He’s got a six-month-old daughter.”
Multiple Charges Against the Employer
The investigation into Corso’s began last year in October after a suspected document vendor was arrested. On this past Tuesday’s arrest, the majority of those arrested were originally from Mexico.
Authorities continue to investigate a collection of allegations against Corso’s which include: harboring illegal aliens, unlawful employment of aliens, false impersonation of a US citizen, fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
“If your business is operating legitimately, there’s nothing to fear,” said Steve Francis, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge. “If you are hiring illegal aliens as a business model, we will identify you, arrest you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”