Yesterday, immigration officials raided a tech company in Collin County, Texas, and detained 280 employees. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is calling this the largest raid in the U.S. in more than a decade.
The technology repair company — located north of Dallas — was under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and HSI since January. ICE is stating that they received numerous tips that employers there were hiring undocumented immigrants that used fraudulent identification documents.
“Man, it was crazy,” Yessenia Ponce, an employee at the company, told KERA News. “We were working like a normal day. … We just heard screaming, you know, people screaming and stuff. We went out, and an officer just said ‘follow my voice, follow my voice.'”
Some are criticizing ICE for their raid tactics as they continue to target non-threatening places of business. Last fall, ICE raided another company in Sumner, Texas. It was there that they detained more than 100 workers at the trailer company.
“This is not the kind of place where you’re going to find public safety threats or those threatening the integrity of the border, and while I certainly support robust enforcement against employers who cheat, the focus of limited immigration resources on people who may not pose a public safety threat is a waste of resources,” John Sandweg, a former ICE director told BuzzFeed News.
ICE officials say that by detaining the workers and fining the employers, it will put a stop to exploitation
“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, HSI Dallas said in a statement. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) — a Latino civil rights organization — is lending legal help to the families of those detained.
ICE reports that families of detainees can call a 24-hour toll-free hotline to address questions about their detention location and status, and the removal process. This hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 1-888-351-4024.