On July 16, ICE agents arrested 18 immigrant workers at Colorado Precast Concrete Inc. in Loveland, Colo., after executing an administrative search warrant at the plant. The workers were arrested on administrative immigration charges. One is from El Salvador; the others are from Mexico. All were taken to Park County Jail to await removal or a hearing before a federal immigration judge. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the operation; the Air Branch of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided air support.
Colorado Precast Concrete fully cooperated with ICE during the operation and is not expected to face any charges. (ICE news release, July 16) The raid was triggered by a tip. About 100 people work at the company, which manufactures a variety of concrete and iron products such as highway barriers, manholes and storm-drain inlets. (Loveland Connection, July 17)
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) issued a press statement on July 16 denouncing the raid as a “quasi-military operation” that “separated dozens of families and workers, and produced images and horrific accounts reminiscent of previous ICE raids in Greeley, Westminster, Monte Vista, and Pueblo,” Colorado. (CIRC press statement, July 16)
ICE spokesperson Carl Rusnok said no sole caregivers were arrested in the raid. But CIRC director Julien Ross pointed out: “Right now there’s most likely a mother and a child waiting for their father to come home, and so while they’re not sole care provider, we’re talking families being separated.” (Rocky Mountain News, Denver, July 16)
“Raids are not the solution to the outdated and dysfunctional US immigration system,” said Kim Medina of Fuerza Latina, a social justice organization in Fort Collins and Loveland which set up a help line for people affected by the raids. “We need a complete reform of our immigration laws. The criminalization of immigrants is a mean-spirited publicity stunt that only causes more pain and suffering for everyone,” Medina said in the statement. (CIRC press statement, July 16)
Ross said he is encouraged that both presidential candidates agree that comprehensive immigration reform is needed. He said CIRC plans to march in Denver as the city hosts the Aug. 25-28 Democratic National Convention. (AP, July 16)
From Immigration News Briefs, July 20