Photo: AP

A Department of Justice spokesperson compared undocumented immigrants arrested during an immigration raid at a gardening business this week to actual bank robbers.

Federal immigration officials on Tuesday arrested 114 workers at two Corso’s Flower and Garden Center locations in Sandusky, Ohio. Most of those arrested were women who planted flowers, local leaders said. Splinter reported about 50 children had been left without a parent, including some who have been left without both fathers and mothers.

When local newspaper Sandusky Register asked Department of Justice spokesperson Devin O’Malley about parents being separated from their children, O’Malley compared the undocumented immigrants working at Corso’s to bank robbers.

“(As an example), let’s say someone has three kids and robs a bank. When they get arrested they’d be separated from their children,” O’Malley said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the workers arrested could face identity theft and tax evasion charges. But local immigrant rights leaders say most workers paid taxes and used made-up social security numbers that simply went unverified by their employers.

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“Yes, she did come here illegally to make a better future for her kids; however, she was working under her real name and files taxes every year,” Michelle Lopez Morales, the sister-in-law of a Corso’s employee who was arrested, told the Sandusky Register. Lopez Morales is now taking care of her niece and nephew, ages four and two.

Ohio is accustomed to dehumanizing its undocumented residents; the state already ranks last in the nation for policies and laws that exclude undocumented immigrants. For example, Ohio does not issue driver’s licenses or other government IDs to undocumented immigrants and excludes undocumented workers from workers compensation policies.