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Immigrants are arrested by the Border Patrol in Ohio. Source: Chicago Tribune.
Immigrants are arrested by Border Patrol officers in Ohio. Source: Chicago Tribune.

ICE carries out aggressive raid in Ohio

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested more than 100 employees of a landscaping and gardening company in Ohio through an aggressive operation…

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"We were in a barn, so we could not escape. They were armed. They had the dogs. We heard helicopters on top of us."

This is how Salma Sabala describes the experience of persecution that she and her co-workers were subjected to while working for a gardening company in Ohio this week.

About 200 federal officials hit two establishments of Corso's Flower and Garden Center on Tuesday, a company that had employed immigrants for gardening and landscaping in Sandusky and Castalia in  Ohio, arresting more than 100 employees.

“Agents surrounded the perimeter of the Castalia location, blocking off nearby streets as the helicopters flew overhead," the New York Times reported. "They arrested 114 workers suspected of being in the country illegally and mounted and loaded many onto buses bound for ICE detention facilities.”

While the adults were arrested, dozens of children born to the immigrants were left "stranded" in day care centers and with babysitters, social activists wrote on Twitter.

The charges that weigh on the detainees are those of identity theft and tax evasion, and federal officers are investigating "the role the employer may have had in the matter," the Associated Press explained.

The raid is the last large-scale operation carried out by the agency after its acting director, Thomas D. Homan, imposed new radical policies last year in what he has argued is "a mission to protect American jobs.”

"We’ve already increased the number of inspections in the worksite operations," Homan said in October 2017. "You will see that significantly increase next fiscal year."

The actions have not been limited to detention, but have also begun to expedite deportation proceedings. According to what a family member of one of the detainees said on condition of anonymity to NBC 24, an immigrant who had arrived in the country without documents, and who had been working for the company for years, was expected to be deported on Thursday morning.

"He did a good job and worked hard to provide for his family," she said. "He’s got a six-month-old daughter."

According to CNN, the investigation into the company began in October 2017 when an undocumented seller was arrested. "The majority of those arrested were Mexican nationals,” said ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls. “And some individuals were processed and released for humanitarian reasons.”

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