U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 280 people suspected of working in the country without proper documentation at a business in Allen, TX, ICE officials announced on Wednesday.
According to ICE’s statement, the agency began looking into the hiring practices of CVE Technology Group Inc., a phone equipment repair business, in January after receiving “multiple tips” that the company knowingly hired undocumented workers.
The statement said all workers arrested in the raid will be interviewed by ICE staff to determine if they should remain in custody or be considered for “humanitarian release.”
“In all cases, all illegal aliens encountered will be fingerprinted and processed for removal from the United States,” ICE also said.
Yessenia Ponce, a CVE employee, told North Texas’ KERA News that she was in the building when agents arrived.
“Man, it was crazy,” Ponce said. “We were working like a normal day...We just heard screaming, you know, people screaming and stuff. We went out and an officer just said ‘follow my voice, follow my voice.’”
Immigration arrests at workplaces are also dramatically on the rise under the Trump administration, particularly in Texas, where they’ve jumped nearly 4,000 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to ICE documents provided to Houston Public Media. Of the 519 people arrested in 2018, 163 were arrested on charges ranging from identity theft to human smuggling, and the remaining 356 people were arrested only for working without authorization.
The last biggest workplace raid was in Postville, IA—a city of just 2,000 people— in 2008, when almost 400 people were arrested, according to KERA.