SEVERE WX : Frost Advisory View Alerts

An ICE raid shattered family's American Dream

After the factory where he worked was raided, Miguel Gonzalez no longer wanted to live in fear as an undocumented immigrant. He moved his family back to Mexico. Now his daughter Casandra, an American citizen, must learn to live in a country that was never home.

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 7:58 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 8:10 AM

Federal immigration officials on Tuesday raided a large meat supplier based in Massillon, Ohio, and arrested more than 100 workers suspected of using stolen or fraudulent identification to gain employment.

As many as 100 agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Customs and Border Protection and the US Border Patrol descended upon four facilities operated by Fresh Mark during the late afternoon raid. Authorities said they made 146 arrests during the raid, which ICE said makes it the largest worksite raid nationally in at least a decade.

The raid -- which was conducted with no prior notice to the business -- was the largest workplace enforcement action to take place under the Trump Administration, said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations unit, which oversees Michigan and Ohio.

Officials arrived with criminal and federal search warrants to collect documents on more than 200 employees. The warrants were served at Fresh Mark's facilities in Salem, Massillon and Canton, Ohio.

ICE officials said the number of workers arrested was likely to climb once the operation concluded. Officials said some arrested workers could face federal charges for identity theft and/or reentry after deportation.

All of the workers who were arrested during Tuesday's raid worked at the company's Salem meat processing facility, said Francis. Most of the workers involved are from Guatemala, he said.

The company's web site indicates it employs more than 1,000 employees.

Francis said the raid was the result of more than a year-long investigation into Fresh Mark and its employees, and whether the company knowingly hired and harbored undocumented workers. He declined to offer further details.

Related: ICE raided a meatpacking plant. More than 500 kids missed school the next day

Shortly after the raid began, Fresh Mark confirmed that representatives from the Department of Homeland Security were at its Massillon, Canton and Salem facilities.

The company said it participates in a federal program to ensure employees have proper documentation. As part of this program, the company said it participates in the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify program and conducts an internal audit of its I-9 forms each year.

The family-owned company sells meat products, such as bacon, deli ham, lunch meats and sausages under the brands Sugardale, Sugardale Food Service and Superior's Brand Meats to restaurants, delis, grocers and stadiums nationwide.

Francis said some of the workers who were arrested would be taken to detention centers in Michigan and Ohio, while others may be deported immediately. ICE said those who are detained will await removal proceedings. Other workers could potentially be released on humanitarian grounds, say if they are a parent of a young child who doesn't have immediate backup care in place, said Francis. In those cases, they would be given a notice to appear at an immigration court.

Work site raids have escalated dramatically under the Trump administration.

Related: ICE arrests 114 at Ohio garden center in major mass raid

In October 2017, ICE's acting director Tom Homan said he had ordered the agency's investigative unit to increase enforcement actions at businesses by as much as fivefold.

"We're not just talking about arresting the aliens at these work sites, we are also talking about employers who knowingly hire people who are unauthorized to work," Homan said at a press conference in Washington D.C., in December.

So far this year, ICE has arrested more than 600 workers that it alleges were working without proper authorization. That number far exceeds the 172 arrests made in 2017, according to ICE.

Up until Tuesday's raid, the largest raid -- in terms of arrests this year -- happened earlier this month when immigration authorities arrested 114 undocumented immigrants working at an Ohio gardening business.

ICE regularly conducts I-9 audits, which seek to verify whether workers provided proper proof of identification -- such as a driver's license or a Social Security card -- when they were hired. Employers must keep these I-9 forms after they have hired a worker and for a period of time after the employee has left the company.

From October 2017 to May 2018, the agency has carried out 2,282 audits -- almost double the 1,360 audits it conducted the prior year. As a result of these audits and other investigations, the Department of Homeland Security has more than doubled the number of business investigations it has conducted this year.

"It's important that companies know not to willingly participate in the hiring of illegal aliens," said Francis.

Civil penalties for businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants can range from $548 to $21,916 per violation. Repeat offenders and companies hiring a larger number of unauthorized workers receive fines that are on the higher end of the range. Criminal penalties for employing undocumented workers can result in hefty fines and possibly jail time.

ICE's worksite enforcement actions resulted in $97.6 million in fines and forfeitures last year, up from $2 million in 2016. According to ICE, the spike was almost entirely the result of penalties incurred by Asplundh Tree Expert Co., which was fined a total of $95 million. ICE said it was the largest payment ever levied in a work site case.

The agency does not yet have a tally for financial penalties levied this year.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 99134

Reported Deaths: 2089
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27728936
Ramsey11209325
Dakota7724127
Anoka6343138
Stearns411925
Washington395055
Scott266333
Olmsted254428
Nobles197916
St. Louis174742
Blue Earth17437
Wright17137
Clay145741
Carver14517
Rice13518
Mower13486
Sherburne118514
Kandiyohi10573
Winona92318
Lyon7384
Waseca7228
Benton5683
Crow Wing56318
Steele5602
Nicollet55317
Freeborn5484
Watonwan5354
Chisago5221
Todd5142
McLeod5032
Le Sueur4804
Beltrami4735
Otter Tail4734
Martin46211
Goodhue3929
Douglas3622
Pine3610
Itasca35616
Polk3344
Isanti3241
Becker2862
Carlton2861
Morrison2802
Dodge2680
Pipestone23910
Chippewa2331
Cottonwood2290
Meeker2142
Wabasha2080
Sibley2033
Yellow Medicine2003
Brown1992
Cass1884
Rock1841
Redwood1805
Murray1762
Mille Lacs1723
Renville1638
Jackson1541
Unassigned15453
Faribault1490
Swift1451
Houston1350
Fillmore1340
Kanabec1318
Hubbard1261
Roseau1250
Koochiching1234
Pennington1201
Lincoln1180
Stevens1071
Pope1000
Aitkin881
Big Stone830
Wadena730
Lac qui Parle721
Wilkin713
Grant644
Lake610
Norman580
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse360
Clearwater320
Lake of the Woods241
Kittson120
Cook70

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 88834

Reported Deaths: 1349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16204264
Woodbury568268
Johnson520327
Black Hawk455992
Linn4199115
Story350717
Dubuque347443
Scott312829
Dallas286038
Pottawattamie222539
Buena Vista202612
Marshall180235
Sioux17533
Wapello134557
Webster132714
Plymouth119121
Clinton115222
Muscatine113856
Crawford11176
Cerro Gordo107622
Warren9726
Jasper88334
Des Moines8249
Marion7799
Henry7774
Tama75732
Carroll7115
Lee6667
Wright6031
Dickinson5546
Boone5328
Bremer5137
Washington49311
Delaware4663
Louisa43915
Mahaska43520
Lyon3904
Jackson3683
Floyd3575
Franklin35318
Clay3504
Winneshiek3468
Benton3441
Hamilton3373
Poweshiek3278
Winnebago32514
Hardin3111
Buchanan2991
Jones2953
Kossuth2900
Butler2802
Emmet27910
Shelby2781
Sac2750
Chickasaw2741
Clayton2713
Guthrie27110
Clarke2703
Harrison2705
Cherokee2692
Allamakee2656
Cedar2561
Madison2452
Fayette2402
Grundy2294
Iowa2291
Palo Alto2140
Page2080
Hancock2032
Mills2031
Humboldt1963
Calhoun1953
Mitchell1950
Howard1937
Cass1812
Osceola1810
Pocahontas1682
Monona1671
Monroe16311
Lucas1596
Union1463
Appanoose1443
Taylor1431
Jefferson1411
Ida1352
Davis1304
Fremont1250
Van Buren1221
Keokuk1201
Worth1100
Greene1090
Montgomery1005
Audubon911
Wayne893
Adair761
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams380
Unassigned40
Rochester
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 43°
Mason City
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 54°
Albert Lea
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 50°
Austin
Broken Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 52°
Charles City
Scattered Clouds
54° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 54°
Cooler and cloudier for Thursday, isolated rain chances
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events