Yet another massive workplace raid by the Trump administration, this time in Ohio, has resulted in more than 100 arrests and left a trail of devastated children and families in its wake. The targets were immigrant farm workers, allegedly lured into a break room with Dunkin’ Donuts by undercover agents, who then arrested them:
About 200 federal officers blitzed two locations of Corso’s Flower and Garden Center — one in Sandusky, on the shoreline of Lake Erie, and another in nearby Castalia, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the Associated Press.
According to the Washington Post, agents swooped in on helicopters and “with K9s and guns,” ultimately arresting 114 people. “Dozens of the workers’ children were left stranded at day-care centers and with babysitters, local activists wrote on social media”:
A Latino advocacy group called HOLA Ohio shared urgent messages across Twitter and Facebook about the raid. Veronica Isabel Dahlberg, founder and executive director of the group, tweeted: “Children still in daycare. Utter chaos. This has to stop!!!”
Dahlberg added that a 16-year-old U.S. citizen was also detained, and authorities refused to release him “until an adult relative with documentation comes to claim him.” According to Splinter, “ICE has released at least seven individuals who were arrested. The individuals released were teenagers who are U.S. citizens; for some this was their first job.”
Under the Trump administration, a series of massive workplace raids have targeted immigrant workers. In April, agents arrested 100 immigrants during a raid at a Tennessee meatpacking plant, leading to 500 terrified kids skipping school after:
Jessica Bailiff looked out at her class and saw empty desks where her students were supposed to be.
The physics teacher's heart sank. She knew why they weren't there.
Now, a week later, most are back in class. But the community is still reeling, Bailiff says.
Kids who are supposed to be learning about light waves, radio waves and the electromagnetic spectrum, she says, are instead wondering if they'll ever see their loved ones again.
"There's just fear and sadness written all over their faces," Bailiff says.
In Ohio, “ICE is also investigating the role the employer played in hiring the undocumented immigrants but has not yet filed charges against the family business, said Khaalid Walls, an agency spokesman.”
According to The Washington Post, Corso’s “was back up and running Tuesday afternoon.” Families devastated by the raid, on the other hand, have now been left scrambling to locate their loved ones and friends. According to NBC24, at least one worker has already been deported:
"My soon to be brother-in-law was deported this morning. He was brought here as a young boy. He's worked at Corso's for many years. They paid him good money. By no means did they pay him what they think immigrants should be paid. They paid him good money. He did a good job and worked hard to provide for his family. He's got a six-month-old daughter."
Dahlberg told Splinter that she “suspected most of the workers were using made-up names and made-up social security numbers. This signaled that the workers may have been paying federal and state taxes using unverified Social Security numbers—and not stealing identities, as ICE claimed.”
Immigrant workers are essential to the farming industry in particular, but it’s the tearing apart of families that is of main concern right now. “This has us sad,” pastor Francisco Carillo told Splinter. “The only thing I care about right now are the children.