ICE’s Military-Style Raid Leaves Immigrant Communities Terrorized

At 7 a.m. on June 5, a man walked into Corso’s Garden Center in Sandusky, Ohio. He carried with him a stack of donut boxes and announced a spur of the moment company meeting. Employees of the garden center were gathering when, suddenly, the man began shouting orders. Heavily armed agents in military fatigues stormed in with canine units. Outside, 100 armed agents formed a perimeter, and overhead, helicopters circled to ensure that no one could escape.

The horrible truth had become apparent. This man, who had just offered them free donuts, was not a company representative. He was an ICE agent, and the workers were trapped. People were crying and panicking. One woman fainted.

ICE agents moved through the crowd, zip-tying the farm workers’ hands behind their backs without bothering to distinguish between U.S. citizens and those without documentation. Ultimately, 114 employees were loaded onto buses and taken to a Border Patrol station in Port Clinton. From there, the men and women were separated, with most sent to detention centers in Youngstown, Ohio, and Battle Creek, Michigan, respectively.

I was told the details of this horrible day by people who had witnessed it themselves. I am the executive director of HOLA Ohio, a grassroots Latino organization that has been advocating for immigrants’ rights for over two decades. As soon as news broke of the raid, my colleagues and I got in the car and drove several hours to the trailer park in Norwalk, Ohio, where many of Corso’s employees live. By the time we arrived, it was essentially a ghost town. Rumors had spread that the trailer park was ICE’s next stop and most residents had fled, many leaving behind their cars and all of their possessions.

It was there that we encountered a traumatized 17-year-old girl who had just been released by ICE. She was a U.S. citizen and worked at Corso’s as a summer job. She, too, had had her hands zip-tied behind her back. Other minors who had been swept up in the raid, including other U.S. citizens, were detained for 12 hours before being released.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the raid is the number of children who have had their lives thrown into turmoil as a result. The day of the raid, at a nearby church where many community members sought shelter, adults scrambled to make sure that the frightened children whose parents had been arrested would have someone to take care of them. Today, over 200 children are still without one or both of their parents.

The day after the raid, ICE announced that it was releasing a number of detainees for “humanitarian reasons,” including those with health issues and those who are the primary caregivers of minor children. Yet, many people who match these criteria remain in ICE custody. One individual still in ICE custody lost his eye while working at Corso’s and needs to take medicated eye drops. Another man in custody is on medication to prevent seizures. There are people still in custody who have diabetes and arthritis. Family members are telling us that these individuals currently do not have access to their medications. It is not clear whether the parents of young children will be released.

The chaos and fear that ensued last week has not abated. Lawyers were finally able to initiate contact with the 56 men in detention, but they have still not been able to contact the women, who are being detained in Michigan. The majority of families have still not been able to speak on the phone or have any contact with their loved ones who are in custody. Deportations could begin as soon as today, though no one knows for sure. This lack of information is only creating more terror in the community.

Though large-scale immigration raids have happened before, the size and brutality of this particular raid, along with the use of military tactics, have shocked even the most seasoned immigrants’ rights activists. Regardless of citizenship status, for workers — including teenagers, mothers, fathers, and those with medical issues — to be treated like enemy insurgents is beyond disturbing. It is terrible, barbaric, and inhumane.

Please urge Senators Brown and Portman to confront ICE and prevent the pending deportations of our immigrant neighbors, family members, and friends.

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Sherry Roberts

I just have to say that I’m deeply saddened & flat out DISGUSTED at the level of sheer hatred spewing out of people in these comments. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel and heartless toward other HUMAN BEINGS! This is exactly what our REAL enemies want. I don’t even recognize my own country anymore.

Anonymous

This administration treats illegal aliens and their families much better than Obama's. The media conglomerates propagandize the issue while continuing the biggest smear in history against the president. And the ACLU aids them in anti-American ideology.

Anonymous

Criminals are treated like criminals.

Anonymous

And yet trump and most of his goonies is still free. The kids haven't done anything to be classified as criminals.

Anonymous

Winning MAGA

Anonymous

Illegals give a bad name to immigrants that have legally followed the path to citizenshipp. Undocumented bye bye!

Anonymous

These illegal folks have NO respect for the USA. No respect for U.S. laws, borders, people, judges, nor courts. The only court orders they follow are those allowing them to stay here. If told to.go home by a judge after exhausting long drawn out appeals paid for by US taxpayers they still refuse to.go.home & ignore the law. They will use anyone to get here & stay here...even their kids & other peoples children. Fake IDs. Buying Identities. Stealing US Identities. They are childlike in their thoughts & actions. Who carelessly pops out children without jobs, safe housing nor birth control in countries overrun by war, violence or gangs...and calls that a GOOD IDEA? Thirty,forty years since they startedcoming in droves, ignoring all our laws...and bringing their lawbreaking ways over here, and their criminal relatives & neighbors. AND STILL NOTHING HAS IMPROVED IN ANY OF THEIR COUNTRIES ENOUGH FOR THEM TO GO HOME THEY SAY??? YET THEY WAVE THEIR COUNTRIES FLAGS HERE & COME TELL US HOW TERRIBLE WE AMERICANS ARE FOR NOT TAKING IN MORE OF THEIR OVERBREEDING UNDEREDUCATED SIMPLE CITIZENS VIGOROUSLY SEXING UP ANOTHER GENERATION THAT WILL SNEAK IN OR OVERSTAY VISAS AND DEMAND AMERICAN TAXPAYERS FOOT THE BILL FOR THEIR SIMPLE MINDED FOOLISHNESS, OVERSEXED BREEDING POLICIES AND VIOLENT CORRUPT COUNTRYMEN BACK HOME. NOT!! ALL LAWBREAKING FOREIGNERS CAN & WILL BE SENT HOME. SHRUG COMPLETELY OVER THESE LAWLESS FOLKS AND THE MANY ANCHOR KIDS THEY POP OUT & FORCE TAXPAYERS TO HELP SUPPORT. SHRUG

Anonymous

Unfortunately for bleeding heart liberals, the United States is a nation founded on laws. Laws that apply to all U.S. citizens and to foreigners who ignored our laws by sneaking into America over our national borders or by overstaying their visitor visa. Enforcing our laws is necessary to prevent total anarchy and those advocating on behalf of the criminals who have violated our laws are essentially supporting anarchy. No one in the United States gets to pick and choose which laws to obey and which laws to ignore. It is the duty and responsibility of all Americans to support the rule of law, and the enforcement of our laws, regardless of the methods used in that enforcement. There was absolutely nothing wrong in the way ICE carried out the raid to deal with such a large number of illegal aliens all congregated in one place. Nothing short of the tactics used by ICE would have been as effective. Every American should be offended when someone describes an illegal alien as an immigrant. They did not immigrate. Instead, they jumped the line in front of all the people waiting to legally immigrate. The only people "terrorized" by the raid are the criminals who violated our immigration laws and those that support these criminals.

Big Don

Illegal immigrant Invaders should live in fear like all other criminals because they have broken the law and do not belong here. I love to read stories like this because I know our great president Donald John Trump is doing his job. I hope you Deport every single illegal regardless of age. Illegal immigrants will destroy this nation and turn it into a third-world cesspit it's time to kick all these Invaders out. No amount of SOB Stories. The Great American Revival ushered in by our great president Donald Trump.

Anonymous

Trump and repubs officials and supporters are doing a great job on destroying this nation all by themselves. YES!!! let's kick out all the invaders starting with the white people since they're the ones that did the first illegal invasion on the Indians.

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