A raid conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a manufacturing plant in Sanford on Tuesday morning ended with the arrest of 30 workers working in the firearms plant.
Carissa Cutrell, a spokeswoman for ICE, revealed via email that the raid is a part of an ongoing investigation.
There are speculations from a local group that ICE raided more than one manufacturing company in Sanford on the same day but Tracy Carter, Sheriff of Lee County, said the raid was only at a plant. So far, no information has been released by ICE regarding situations of additional raids.
I-9 Status Verification
According to an immigration attorney, Chris Barnes, who represents one of the people detained, the raid was done to fish out cases of fraudulent I-9s, as told by an ICE agent.
I-9 is a form of eligibility issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which all employees in the US are expected to have.
Explaining further, Barnes said a good number of undocumented residents uses phony name and Social Security number (SSN) in an attempt to secure jobs in the US, and usually, many firms do not give attention to verifying the I-9 status of employees to be sure they are legalized to take a job in the country.
In the latest raid, whether the manufacturing company is to blame or not remains unclear, Sheriff Carter said. He assured residents of Lee County that the raid was the outcome of an investigation by ICE and is in no way a random operation by the agency.
A spokeswoman, Viridiana Martinez, with a local Latino advocacy group, said ICE agents who appeared to be looking for pre-identified individuals initially detained about 70 people. She condemned the raid saying Sanford has been a place to come to for immigrants given the opportunity of working with local businesses. Martinez called targeting of undocumented workers by law enforcement an unfortunate situation. It is wrong, she said.
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