The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) military-style raid, where 100 armed agents stormed a store in Ohio to round up suspected illegal immigrants, brought the war on immigrants to a new level, immigrant rights activists charge.
While large-scale immigration raids are not uncommon, the sheer size of the force used in the Ohio raid shocked even the most seasoned advocates, the ACLU said.
A man carrying a stack of doughnut boxes called workers at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio, for a “meeting.” Minutes later, 100 armed ICE agents in military garb stormed the store with dogs while helicopters hovered overhead to ensure nobody escaped. In all, agents herded up 114 workers, zip-tying their hands behind their backs, without ever checking to see who were U.S. citizens.
Then they separated the men and women and took them to detention centers. Numerous minors also were swept up in the raid.
ICE released the minors after 12 hours, but a week later, over 200 children were still without their parents and are being cared for by a local church.
While ICE announced it was releasing some detainees for “humanitarian reasons,” many still remained in custody. Civil and immigration rights lawyers were able to contact some of the men a week later but were prevented from reaching the women. Most detainees were not allowed to talk to their families at all. Deportations were expected to begin within days of the raid.
Treating immigrant workers as enemy insurgents is “terrible, barbaric, and inhumane,” the ACLU says, and is “beyond disturbing.”
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