ICE Agents Arrest More Than 280 Employees at Texas Company

Last week, immigration agents apprehended over 280 employees at a north Texas telecommunication repair company in what is considered the largest bust in more than 10 years, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agency carried out criminal search warrants at CVE Technology Group — located 25 miles north of Dallas — and four businesses linked to it. Katrina Berger, Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas special agent in charge, told reporters that the agency started an investigation in January after multiple tips suggested that the company may have hired undocumented immigrants, many of whom possessed counterfeit identification documents.

"Our focus is the criminal investigation," said Katrina W. Berger, ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agent in Dallas. "The investigation is ongoing, but we can disclose that this is the largest ICE work site operation at one site in the last 10 years." She also added, “the numbers of the administrative arrests we made today hint at the significant scope of the investigation.” The agency noted that all 280 people arrested would be interviewed to determine if they need humanitarian or medical help. According to NBC, workers’ relatives flocked to the facility after reports of the bust emerged. "It's not fair. It's really sad and it makes a lot of people really angry and frustrated," the daughter of a detained worker told the outlet.

A Guatemalan woman who was arrested in the raid told local station NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that she worked at CVE since first arriving in the US five years ago. She was later released after promising to stand in court next month.

"The hardest thing was when the bus started taking off," she said. "There was a long moment of silence, people crying, people saying, 'I’m going to leave this country and go back to my own.'" The raid fueled protests in Dallas and the city of Allen, where CVE is located. Nearly a dozen people held signs and chanted in front of an ICE field office, the channel reported.

"These are hardworking people. These are not criminals, rapists, or anything of that nature. They are hardworking people earning a living," Hilda Ramirez-Duarte, a representative of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said. Workplaces became the target of recurring, large-scale ICE raids under the George W. Bush administration but were discarded by President Barack Obama, USA Today reported. Despite the Trump administration’s pledge that employers and employees will be subject to raids equally, ICE data shows that employees face the brunt of these raids, the newspaper reported.

On Sunday, days after the raid, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned. She has "agreed to stay on as secretary through Wednesday, April 10th to assist with an orderly transition and ensure that key DHS missions are not impacted," according to a tweet.

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will take office as the acting DHS secretary, President Donald Trump said. Some reports indicate that Trump has blamed Nielsen for the ongoing illegal crossings into the US.


About the author

Robert Valencia is the breaking news editor for The North Star. His work as editor and reporter appeared on Newsweek, World Politics Review, Mic.com, Public Radio International and The Miami Herald, among other outlets. He’s a frequent commentator on foreign affairs and US politics on Al Jazeera English, CNN en Español, Univision, Telemundo, Voice of America, C-SPAN, Sirius XM and other media outlets across Latin America and the Caribbean.