U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement announced Wednesday that it had arrested some 280 individuals in an immigration enforcement sting in northern Texas, the largest such raid in at least a decade.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arm executed criminal search warrants at the headquarters of CVE Technology Group Inc., a technology repair company located in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. Officials told KERA News that the action was the largest worksite raid in the country in ten years.
The raid was prompted by several tips, provided to HSI, which indicated that CVE had been knowingly employing illegal immigrants, and that a number of its employees were using fraudulent documents for identification. In January, HSI audited CVE’s I-9 forms, which led to the unearthing of "numerous irregularities," the press release explained.
"Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses," said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, HSI Dallas. "In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce."
CVE is a cellphone refurbisher. One employee, who spoke to KERA News, described the raid.
"Man, it was crazy," employee Yessenia 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.'"
The raid on CVE was larger than the previous record holder for the decade, a worksite enforcement action against a trailer manufacturer also in northern Texas. That event led to the arrest of 159 illegal workers.
The largest raid in U.S. history, by way of comparison, took place in Postville, Iowa in 2008. That day, HSI officials arrested some 400 men, women, and teenagers, according to the Des Moines Register.