On July 9, ICE agents joined Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in raiding two marine companies in Port Arthur in southeastern Texas, near the Louisiana border. The operations took place at the R & R Marine Fabrication and Drydock facility on Procter Street and at a Cal Dive International facility on Yacht Club Road. The agents arrested 37 immigrant workers at R & R and took them to the ICE holding facility at a private jail in nearby Beaumont; from there the workers were to be transferred to the Houston Detention and Removal Facility. It was not clear whether any workers were arrested at Cal Dive.
Robert Keller, assistant director of field operations for CBP’s Houston office, said the operation was part of a national effort to make sure that workers in secure marine areas such ports and terminals are in the country legally. Personnel from the US Coast Guard, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Port Arthur Police and Jefferson County Constables assisted with the raid by blocking off the area while federal agents took the workers into custody. A number of workers were arrested as they tried to escape by running into nearby neighborhoods.
“We can confirm some employees were detained by ICE,” Will Wilson of R & R Marine told KFDM News. “At this time, R & R is cooperating with ICE as it assesses the situation, and the company looks forward to resolving the matter very soon.” Port Arthur Police said R & R Marine and Fabrication has been collaborating with law enforcement for the past year in an effort to avoid hiring undocumented workers. (KFDM.com, July 9; Port Arthur News, July 9)
From Immigration News Briefs, July 13
See our last post on the politics of immigration.