Nearly 300 illegal immigrants were arrested Wednesday in a Dallas suburb after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a high-tech company. Officials say the raid was the largest in the country in over a decade.
The ICE raid, conducted in tandem with Homeland Security, resulted in the arrest of 280 people at The CVE Group in Allen, a wealthy suburb north of Dallas. The raid was part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the business, which is accused of knowingly hiring foreign nationals with fake papers. It is not known if the business assisted the foreign nationals in obtaining the fake documents.
The company, which services and refurbishes telecommunication devices, remained open and in operation during the raid, even as a large number of employees were arrested and taken away. The foreign nationals placed under arrest will remain in custody while ICE interviews them. Some may be held while they await a hearing in front of an immigration judge, while others may begin deportation proceedings.
A handful were granted humanitarian release after they agreed to appear at an immigration hearing. Those released had strong ties in the community, and were not a flight risk.
Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger said this was the largest ICE worksite operation involving immigration arrests in the last ten years. She said the investigation into The CVE Group began after they received multiple tips that they were knowingly employing foreign nationals without legal immigration status.
ICE did not announce which countries the workers were from, but consulates from Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador were offering assistance to those arrested.
In January, an audit of the company’s I-9 forms indicated numerous problems, which prompted the raid by ICE. Agents arrested so many workers, ICE had to bring in buses to ship them out.
“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” said Berger. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”
Officials from the local LULAC office were assisting family members of those arrested with legal advice. Protests at ICE field offices in Allen and Dallas were also held.
One person told a reporter that her daughter-in-law, who is undocumented and among those arrested, has worked at CVE for more than a decade.
Here is local news coverage of the raid from WFAA in Dallas, the ABC affiliate.
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H/T: NBC DFW