ICE Accused of Terrorizing Immigrants After Arresting Nearly 300 People in Largest Work Site Raid in a Decade

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been accused of using government funding to "terrorize immigrant communities" after it carried out its largest work site raid in a decade on Wednesday, arresting nearly 300 workers.

In a statement following the raid, ICE said its agents arrested more than 280 employees at CVE Technology Group, an electronics repair company in Allen, Texas, north of Dallas, on "administrative immigration violations" on Wednesday morning.

The agency said that it conducted the raid with the help of "federal, state and local counterparts," including the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas.

As reports of the mass raid emerged, immigration advocates took aim at ICE, with United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country, saying: "This is how ICE uses the money that funds the agency: To terrorize immigrant communities and people of color with raids that separate families, and putting our loved ones behind cages and jails."

"Within hours, the lives of hundreds have spiraled into turmoil and anxiety," United We Dream said. "These workers are now in the hands of an agency that is abusive and negligent toward the physical and mental well-being of the people they target."

In a separate statement, United We Dream field director Eli Cuna said "undocumented youth, families and allies from across Texas will continue to fight against the expanding deportation force, which creates terror, instability and fear for people across the country.

"Unjust raids like this one are clear examples of why United We Dream Texas urges Congress to defund ICE and [the U.S. Customs and Protection Border agency]," Cuna said. "Family separation is happening all around us."

ICE said the arrests came after the agency's Homeland Security Investigations unit received multiple tips that the company "may have knowingly hired illegal aliens and that many of the individuals employed at CVE were using fraudulent identification documents." The agency then began an audit of the company, confirming "numerous hiring irregularities."

In a statement, Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger of HSI Dallas accused businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants of creating "an unfair advantage over their competing businesses."

"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 said.

ICE said that all of the undocumented immigrants, which it called "immigration status violaters," arrested on Wednesday would be interviewed by ICE staff to record any medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations.

"Based on these interviews, ICE will determine if those arrested remain in custody or are considered for humanitarian release," the agency said.

The agency said, however, that "in all cases, all illegal aliens encountered will be fingerprinted and processed for removal from the United States."

As a result, the raid could see dozens of undocumented immigrants processed for deportation, which immigration advocates warn will create chaos and devastation for many families in Allen.

On Wednesday night, the Racial Justice Working Group of the North Texas chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America posted a photo to Twitter appearing to show dozens of people waiting outside a local ICE office in Dallas.

"Families have been here at ICE in Dallas for hours waiting for their family members to be released or to even know anything about what is happening with their family members who were detained," the group said.

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested more than 280 workers at an electronics repair company in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday April 4, 2019 in the agency's largest raid in a decade. Immigration and Customs Enforcement