In what may have been the largest single workplace raid in a decade, the Trump administration makes good on its pledge to ramp up enforcement this year.
Federal agents arrested 97 immigrants at a meat-processing plant in rural Tennessee last week in what may have been the largest single workplace raid in a decade, reports the Washington Post. It was a sign that the Trump administration is carrying out its plan to ramp up enforcement aggressively this year. Ten people were arrested on federal immigration charges, one person was arrested on state charges and 86 immigrants were detained for being in the U.S. illegally. Immigration advocates said most were from Mexico. The raid on Southeastern Provision in Bean Station, Tn., follows arrests at 7-Eleven stores and other workplaces nationwide.
Last year, the top U.S. immigration official said he had ordered agents to increase the number of work-site inspections and operations by “four or five times” this year, to turn off the job “magnets” that attract immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally and punish employers who hire them. The National Immigration Law Center said the Tennessee raid was the largest since the George W. Bush administration and deployed many tactics of that era, with a surprise blitz of the factory and streets blocked by state and local authorities. “People are panicked,” said Stephanie Teatro of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, a statewide organization that came to the small town and set up intake centers at local churches where relatives could report their loved ones missing. “People are terrified to drive. People are terrified to leave their homes.” The immigration arrests came as authorities executed a federal criminal search warrant at the cattle-slaughter facility outside Knoxville. The Internal Revenue Service said the family-run plant is under criminal investigation for allegedly evading taxes, filing false tax returns and hiring illegal immigrants.