Immigration agents arrested more than 280 employees at a Texas tech business Wednesday — the largest such workplace raid in a decade — on allegations that they weren’t authorized to work in the United States.
The workers at CVE Technology Group, a phone equipment and technology repair business in Allen, Texas, were arrested by agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Divisions. The agency was acting on a tip that the company purposely hired undocumented workers with fraudulent authorization papers, a Dallas-based agent told NPR.
The company has 2,100 employees overall, according to NPR, and is approximately 25 miles north of Dallas. Authorities received a warrant to search the company’s main building and four of its staffing buildings Wednesday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Now, some of CVE’s former employees will be interviewed by ICE to determine whether anyone qualifies for a temporary humanitarian release. But all undocumented workers will be processed for deportation. (It’s unclear where the employees are from, as the agency didn’t provide a breakdown of countries of origin.) ICE told USA Today many of the workers were using fake identification documents, or stole IDs from legal U.S. workers. Immigration authorities haven’t charged the company’s management with any crimes.
Some protesters showed up to the warehouse Wednesday morning, demanding compassion for the arrested workers.
In the last fiscal year, ICE has conducted nearly 10 times as many immigration raids at workplaces compared to the year prior, according to BuzzFeed News. The last massive workplace raid also occurred in Texas: ICE arrested more than 100 undocumented employees at a North Texas trailer manufacturing plant in August. ICE told USA Today that its aim is to combat illegal practices and worker exploitation, noting that its enforcement investigations often concern human smuggling and other exploitative practices.
However, Farheen Siddiqi, a senior staff attorney for the nonprofit legal group RAICES, told the Dallas Morning News that “these are families.” She said nobody is accused of a high-level crime.
Cover: In this Oct. 22, 2018, photo U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents escort a target to lockup during a raid in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)