Hundreds arrested by US immigration officials in one of largest raids in a decade

Donald Trump's administration is targeting workplaces employing undocumented immigrants across the US

Chris Riotta
New York
Friday 05 April 2019 00:23
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested nearly 300 people at a Texas tech company in one of the federal agency’s largest raids in a decade.

The mass arrest reflects a push by Donald Trump’s administration to target companies employing people who federal authorities say are not allowed to be in the United States.

About 200 law enforcement officials descended Wednesday on CVE Technology Group in Allen, a city about 15 miles northeast of Dallas.

The technology repair company was employing people working in the US illegally, according to federal authorities, who did not release details on the approximately 280 people who were taken away on buses. Each will face deportation proceedings.

In a statement, ICE said that it began auditing CVE employment documents after receiving tips that the business was knowingly hiring people not authorised to work in the country.

Homeland Security Investigations, a division of ICE, began an audit in January of CVE records that confirmed hiring irregularities, according to the statement.

“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” ICE agent Katrina Berger said. “In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.”

But family members of CVE workers who were arrested say the raid was a heavy-handed tactic against people simply working to provide for their families.

Valerie Trevino told the Dallas Morning News that her mother, Graciela Velazquez, moved from Mexico 25 years ago and has worked for the company for years. Ms Trevino said her mom does not have a criminal record.

“It’s insane to just get people who are working to make a living,” she said. “They’ve done nothing wrong besides work. My mom’s worked her entire life here. So other than that, I mean what really is her crime?”

The Texas raid was the latest in a series of high-profile busts of businesses around the country as part of an immigration crackdown under Mr Trump.

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Critics say the raids break up hard-working families and make it even harder for businesses to find employees in a tight labour market. ICE frequently touts the raids as major operations to break up criminal enterprises, but rarely releases names of the immigrants arrested, making it difficult to see what comes of their cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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