Originally published July 9, 2018; updated September 9, 2018
Since the Trump Administration began, Donald Trump has implemented policies keeping would-be immigrants out of the U.S. and kicking the ones already here out.
One way he has accomplished the latter is through raids — workplace and location-based raids that have detained immigrants, separated families, and spread fear in communities across the country. The agency tasked with carrying out these raids, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has a long record of abuses in its short history and has rapidly expanded its destructive efforts under the Trump Administration. Furthermore, top immigration officials under Trump have called for an increase in immigration raids, falsely portrayed immigrants as criminals in order to justify these raids, and deployed raids as a political weapon against cities deemed too friendly to immigrants. ICE has even begun to falsely blame safe city policies for “forcing” ICE to come into neighborhoods and workplaces.
Many of the immigrants caught up in these raids, however, just lack documentation and have no criminal record whatsoever. The number of undocumented immigrants arrested without a criminal record under the Trump Administration has tripled. And many of the immigrants whom ICE arrests only have immigration violations on their records. Yet they have been detained, deported, and permanently separated from their families.
So far in fiscal year 2018, there have been five times as many arrests of immigrants at workplaces than in all of FY 2017. The Dallas Morning News reported that removing all undocumented immigrants from the economy “would trigger a recession like we haven’t seen in a decade.” Yet, the Trump administration continues to increase these raids.
Below is an extensive, but by no means complete, list of the large ICE raids conducted since the beginning of the Trump Administration:
On August 8, 2018 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a massive workplace raid across Minnesota and Nebraska and arrested 133 immigrant workers. ICE only had warrants for 17 immigrants; the rest were “collateral” arrests from the factories, farms, and restaurants ICE targeted. The main focus of the raid was a tomato factory in O’Neill, Nebraska, a town of about 3,700. Some 80 families living there were directly impacted by the raid. Amy Shane, the superintendent of O’Neill Public Schools, estimated that between 50 to 100 kids in her district were separated from an immediate family member because of the raid. On the evening of the raid, about 80 community members staged a protest at the city court house in opposition to the raid and in support of their immigrant neighbors. They carried signs that read “separating families is not Nebraska Nice” and “America is for Everyone.”
In a massive raid two hours south of Dallas, Texas, ICE raided a manufacturer called Load Trail Trailers and arrested 160 immigrants in August 2018. The massive operation brought in 300 agents from across the south who reportedly stormed the facility with weapons drawn. “My biggest fear is that I’ll get deported and my daughters will be left without my supervision because their mother can’t be with them,” said Hildebrando Torres Jimenez, who worked at Load Trail Trailers and was swept up in the raid. Both of Torres’ daughters are U.S. citizens. Local community members and organizations stepped up to support the community’s immigrant families, including Raices, Movimiento Cosecha, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, League of United Latin American Citizens, North Texas Dream Team, Light of Hope Immigration Services, United Fort Worth, and Justice for Our Neighbors.
From July 16 to 20, 2018, ICE conducted I-9 raids — audits of employers looking to see if they employ undocumented workers — on 5,200 businesses across the nation and arrested 93 immigrants.
On June 5, 2018, ICE detained 114 workers at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia, Ohio. The raid left kids like Juan Perez, a 15-year-old, and his two younger siblings fearing they would have to be put in foster care. Read stories of those affected by the raid here. This military-style immigration raid was widely condemned by advocates from faith leaders to elected officials to union leaders to children’s health and welfare experts; read their statements here.
Just two weeks after the raid on Corso’s, ICE detained 146 workers at a raid on Fresh Mark, a meatpacking plant in Salem, Ohio, which is, to date, the largest single workplace raid under the Trump Administration. According to Sister Rene Weeks, director of Hispanic ministry at St. Paul Church in Salem, “one father said to me, ‘I feel like my heart is being pulled out.’ His wife was taken, and he has two children under the age of 2.” Labor unions also joined denunciations against the raid, with Petee Talley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ohio AFL-CIO saying, “worksite raids do nothing to raise wages and standards for working people in Ohio. In fact, they create fear in our workplaces and communities, which actually makes us all less safe.”
On May 9, 2018, 32 immigrants were detained by ICE after a raid on Midwest Precast Concrete near Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Fr. Nils de Jesús Hernández, a Catholic priest from Postville condemned the raid and said, “we cannot continue to experience more raids in the USA. Families are divided and children suffer the trauma of not having their parents with them.”
97 immigrants were detained by ICE on April 6, 2018 after a raid on Southeastern Provision, a cattle-slaughter facility in Tennessee. The following day, over 500 kids missed school as the raid sent a ripple of fear throughout the community. Esperanza, whose husband was arrested during the raid said, “the raid that happened in our town has devastated 97 families and our whole community.”
In a three-day raid that ended on February 2, 2018, ICE raided 77 businesses in Northern California. Angelo Paparelli, an immigration attorney in Los Angeles, told SFGate that the number of targeted business in a concentrated area appeared to be “unprecedented.” Pratheepan Gulasekaram, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, said the raid appeared to be a “retributive move by ICE to punish California and the Bay Area for their decision to not cooperate with other federal enforcement efforts.” The raid was follow by another two weeks later. On February 16, ICE arrested 212 immigrants and served 122 notices for audits in Los Angeles
ICE began 2018 in dramatic fashion, in a coordinated raid across 17 states and Washington, D.C. on ninety-eight 7-Eleven stores that led to the arrest of 21 immigrants. The coordinated raid was meant to send a message that ICE would follow through targeting a wide array of immigrants throughout the coming year.
2017 closed out with a total of 1,360 employee audits and more than 300 arrests of immigrants. But over half of those arrested did not have a criminal record and only lacked documentation.
Cloverhill Bakery, located outside Chicago, lost 800 workers after an ICE raid in the summer of 2017. The raid, which resulted in the loss of a third of its workforce, reportedly cost the company $21.6 million. Juan Cruz, from Chicago-based advocacy Communities United, told CNN Money that ICE’s action “had a great impact across the northwest side of the city, with hundreds of families struggling [to] find new jobs,” adding that the raids “undermine workers’ rights” by silencing them out of fear of retaliation against their status.
55 immigrants were detained after ICE raided eight Asian restaurants in Mississippi on February 22, 2017. The raid targeted locations of the Ichiban restaurant brand and two Chinese buffets in the cities of Flowood, Pearl, Meridian, and Jackson. Ramiro Orozco, an immigration attorney based in Jackson, told the Los Angeles Times, “the raids and the rhetoric coming from the new administration have created so much anxiety. We’re getting to the point that people are pulling their children out of school, they’re not going to work.”
Targeted community raids
Between January and mid February 2017, ICE had arrested 680 immigrants across the country, and 25 percent of those arrested did not have a criminal record. Far from targeting immigrants with a criminal record as Trump the candidate had indicated, ICE’s indiscriminate raids sent fear and uncertainty throughout communities, and immigration advocates decried these raids for separating families. Read personal stories of those caught up in the raids here.
In February, 2017 ICE conducted a raid in Austin, Texas, where ICE initially reported arresting 51 immigrants, of whom more than half had no criminal record whatsoever. The Texas Observer reported that a Freedom of Information request revealed that ICE actually detained 132 immigrants in the raid. Moreover, agents actually alerted two magistrate judges that the raid was retribution for Austin’s immigrant-friendly policies.
In September 2017, ICE explicitly targeted immigrant-friendly cities in a coordinated raid over 42 counties across the U.S. The raids resulted in 498 arrests, with 40 percent of those arrested having no criminal record. The most arrests (107) came from Philadelphia, where Mayor Jim Kenney had sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions a month earlier over the attempt to withhold federal grant money from immigrant-friendly cities. Kenney said, “if you are looking for a way to thwart progress in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in medical research, education, trade, reputation — you name it — business creation, then scare the bejesus out of people.”
In Massachusetts, where 50 were arrested, the Massachusetts’ Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice said, “using the full force and strength of federal enforcement to punitively target immigrants in Massachusetts is an extreme abuse of power. Raiding our cities and towns is a waste of scarce taxpayer dollars, and creates a climate of fear in vulnerable communities.”
Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and D.C.
In July 2018, ICE arrested 132 immigrants in Washington D.C. The raid was followed by widespread community support for immigrants as hundreds took to the streets to condemn the raid. ICE shortly after arrested 12 more immigrants in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
In May 2018, ICE returned to the Philadelphia area with another raid, arresting 49, with 70 percent of those arrested lacking any sort of criminal record.
Raids in Virginia and Washington, D.C. led to the arrests of 82 in April 2017. And at the end of May, ICE conducted another multi-state raid across Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, arresting 186 more immigrants. More than a two-thirds of the arrests were immigrants who simply lacked documentation.
248 immigrants were arrested across Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia in late March 2017. Over half of those arrested had no criminal record.
Eighty-four immigrants were detained by ICE in a three-day raid at the end of March 2017 in the Pacific Northwest. A third of those arrested had no criminal record. The Guardian reported that “people are paranoid walking around the streets” and that traffic to local businesses has nosedived.
New York and New Jersey I
n August 2018, ICE arrested 65 immigrants in a raid in New York. In July 2018, ICE seemingly targeted Middlesex County, New Jersey, because of their safe city policies, arresting 37.
ICE arrests in New Jersey were up 42 percent in FY 2017, but some 40 percent of those arrested had no prior criminal record.
In July 2017, an ICE raid in New York arrested 114, with 30 percent of those arrested having only immigration violations. In 2018, ICE, as of this writing, has conducted at least three more raids in New York, arresting 46 in January, with 50 percent of those arrested lacking any criminal record. An ICE raid in April arrested 225, leading Governor Andrew Cuomo to call ICE’s practices “reckless and unconstitutional,” Newsweek reported that Cuomo said agents had repeatedly raided private property without warning and had failed to identify who they were or present warrants. Another raid in June arrested 40 immigrants, 70 percent of whom had no previous criminal record.
In 2017, ICE conducted at least two raids in New Jersey, one in June resulting in 113 arrests, and one in December resulting in 101 arrests. NJ.com reported Lori Nessel, director of the Seton Hall University School of Law Center for Social Justice, saying that the raids were making mothers, children, the ill, and those who have long-standing ties to the community all vulnerable to deportation at any moment. ICE followed up with two more raids in New Jersey in 2018. In April, 60 were arrested in a raid, and in mid-June, another 91 were arrested, with 30 percent of those detained lacking a criminal record.
Texas and Oklahoma
In a five-day raid in August 2018, ICE arrested 45 immigrants in the area around Houston. In 2018, there have been at least two other major raids across North Texas and Oklahoma, including one in January where ICE arrested 86, and another in March where they arrested another 89 immigrants. In February 2018, ICE conducted a massive raid across South and Central Texas, arresting 145, about half of whom were arrested only because they lacked proper documents.
In 2017, there were no fewer than seven large ICE raids across Texas and Oklahoma, resulting in some 567 arrests. ICE conducted three immigration raids in April: in South Texas where they arrested 153, in Southeast Texas where they arrested 95, and in North Texas and Oklahoma where they arrested 75. A raid in Tulsa, Oklahoma that concluded in May resulted in another 22 immigrants arrested. ICE arrested 70 in Dallas and Oklahoma in June, and another 123 in Central and South Texas.
Midwest and Rust Belt
In August 2018, ICE raided six states in the Midwest arresting 364 immigrants, more than half of whom simply lacked documentation. Almost all those arrested with criminal records had only immigration violations. ICE arrested 134 immigrants in Illinois, 52 in Indiana, 43 in Kansas, 60 in Kentucky, 42 in Missouri, and 33 in Wisconsin.
In March 2018, ICE raided the Kansas City area, arresting 20, followed by a six-day, five-state raid that arrested 78 in May. In a six-day raid on the Chicago area, ICE arrested 156, more than half of whom simply lacked documentation. In response, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat from Naperville, IL, sent a letter to ICE requesting information about the stops and warrants ICE had for the raid. “I strongly condemn any attempt to instill fear in our immigrant community,” Foster said.
In April 2017, ICE conducted a four-day raid in Colorado and Wyoming, arresting 26 immigrants. Then in September, an ICE raid resulted in 33 arrests in Michigan. In December 2017, 22 were arrested in Kentucky and 27 were arrested in Michigan.
Florida and Puerto Rico
ICE arrested 76 on a four-day raid across the state of Florida and Puerto Rico in April of 2017. They followed up with a massive raid in March of 2018, arresting 271, almost two-thirds of whom did not have any criminal record whatsoever. Part of the raid was focused on TentLogix, a tent rental company, and a local news station reported that ICE detained and interrogated at least one US citizen who worked at TentLogix.
ICE has conducted at least four more large raids in California in addition to those already mentioned above. In June 2017, ICE arrested 50 in central California. In March 2018, ICE conducted two massive raids in northern California, arresting 232, and 115 in the San Diego area, where more than half of those arrested simply lacked documentation. In a raid in Los Angeles in June 2018, ICE arrested another 162 immigrants.