Federal agents arrested 160 workers this week during an immigration investigation at a Texas trailer-manufacturing business – the largest raid of its kind in the past decade.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division executed the raid on Tuesday at Load Trail in Sumner, Texas, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas.
An ICE spokesman confirmed to DailyMail.com on Thursday that officials believed it was the largest workplace roundup that the agency has conducted since 2008.
Federal immigration agents arrested 160 workers during a raid at Texas company that manufactures trailers
ICE officials said the goal of the ongoing investigation was not arrests, but to target the employer.
‘Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,’ said Katrina W. Berger, special agent in charge, HSI Dallas. ‘They take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce.’
An employee who answered the phone at Load Trail declined to comment on Thursday.
Immigrant advocates condemned the raid and other enforcement efforts by the Trump administration, saying that it only serves to create a culture of fear in the Latino community.
‘This is just further proof that the family separation stuff we’ve been seeing at the border that we’ve all been outraged about is just the tip of the iceberg,’ said Carlos Guevara, a senior policy advisor with UnidosUS. ‘These (workplace) operations stand to separate thousands of children from their parents.’
ICE officials said the investigation began with a tip to HSI indicating that the company was knowingly hiring people who were in the country illegally, many of who were using fake identification documents.
Each of the immigrants arrested was fingerprinted and being processed for removal from the country, though officials said that they will interview them and weigh whether any are eligible for humanitarian release during removal proceedings.
The Texas raid is the latest in a massive effort to target companies that are employing workers who are in the country illegally.
HSI announced in July a two-phase, nationwide operation in which it issued more than 5,200 audit notices to business across the country. The agency has been reviewing employers’ hiring records to determine if they are complying with immigration laws.
The Texas raid is the latest in a massive effort to target companies that are employing workers who are in the country illegally
As of July 20, ICE had more than tripled the number of work site investigations it conducted so far in 2018.
Since October 1, 2017 – the beginning of fiscal year 2018 – ICE has opened investigations into 6,093 workplaces, compared to 1,716 in all of fiscal year 2017.
The agency also made 984 administrative arrests as of July 20 of this year, nearly six times the 172 officials made the year prior. Administrative arrests are when someone is accused of being in the country illegally, but they haven’t been charged with any other crimes.
ICE officials also increased the number of criminal arrests it made, taking in 675 immigrants compared to 139 in all of 2017.
Altogether, the 1,659 arrests made so far in FY2018 amount to five times the 311 arrests of FY2017.