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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Anonymous

MAGA. Morons Are Governing America.

Anonymous

Please be informed before you write your articles. The raid was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) ICE doesn’t conduct raids at place of employments. These are criminal investigations conducted by (HSI). Some of the people arrested are facing criminal charges for identity theft and others. This had nothing to do with the work of ICE. There were a lot a agente from local and other federal agencies. If they were ICE agents prsent they were assisting HSI with their raid.

Anonymous

For all the folks shouting that "the law must be followed" you are being fooled. Your guy doesn't care. Do you want to talk about the law? How about hiring people who don't have papers and putting them to work in unsafe and abusive conditions, committing 86 counts of financial fraud, getting 27 in the slammer and Trump gives you a get out of jail card? This isn't about "the law." From The Intercept: As with the recent Tennessee raid, the Iowa one was prompted by fiscal violations by the plant’s managers, who also subjected workers to unsafe conditions and abusive treatment. Sholom Rubashkin, chief executive officer of the Postville plant, was eventually convicted of 86 counts of financial fraud and sentenced to 27 years in prison. President Donald Trump commuted his sentence last December.

Anonymous

I'm curious as to how long a citizen posting on here would tolerate being swept up if it meant illegal aliens were being rounded up. A US citizen who was a minor was detained for 12 hours. For no crime at all. How would anyone posting on here prove their status as citizens? Not many people carry copies of their birth certificates and as we saw with the last president - birth certificates won't convince many people. Don't be so quick to give up your 4th amendment rights just to satisfy an exagerrated sense of hypernationationalism. Just a thought.

Anonymous

If I have kids and decide to rob a bank, are you going to blame the police for arresting me, and taking me away from my children? There are consequences FOR YOUR ACTIONS. Stop blaming others for your mistakes!!! Instead of trying to bring America down and make illegal immigrants feel at home here, you should all go to Mexico, THEIR ACTUAL HOME, and focus on making Mexico better for them AND all those who care enough about their children NOT to come here ILLEGALLY. That’s called a win-win-win, but naaaaaah, you’d rather break the law and act like it’s someone else’s fault you broke the law. Stop always being the victom.

Anonymous

good job i.c.e! keep are country safe!
please dems and libs stop attacking what's good.
your socialist views will only deystry this great country.
and you would regret your decision in years to come.
Trump is doing what he was elected to do .
if u are here illigaly you have broke the law. good bye.
as far as the news and the horrible Maxine waters the next Hitler ,and her group of criminals who play for pay they should all be arrested for treason. the children are better off then they ever were fake news is trying everything to make it a bad thing.
when you open your eyes are hands are open to bring you over to the good side .

God bless trump!

Anonymous thomas

don't be blocking me for being a conservative!
that would make you racist

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