On June 26, ICE agents executed a federal civil search warrant at an aircraft manufacturing plant in Arlington, Wash., arresting 32 of the company’s workers—16 women and 16 men—on administrative immigration violations. Two of the workers are from El Salvador; the others are from Mexico. The raid took place at Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. (AMT), a leading supplier of frame and interior parts for commercial and military aircraft. AMT provides many of the parts used in airplanes such as the Boeing 737 and Boeing 777. About 360 workers were at the job site when ICE agents showed up.
The probe into AMT began months earlier after ICE received a tip that the business was using undocumented workers, said ICE spokesperson Lorie Dankers. ICE then audited AMT’s employment records, which revealed discrepancies leading agents to believe that a small percentage of the company’s employees used counterfeit documents to secure their jobs. According to ICE, there is no evidence AMT was aware that the workers had used false credentials. The investigation is ongoing and the company is cooperating, said Dankers. “We’ll go where the evidence leads us,” she said.
Four female workers were released on humanitarian grounds because they are primary caregivers to children. The other 28 workers were taken to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. (ICE news release, June 26; Lynnwood Enterprise, June 27; 710 KIRO Radio, June 26)
A day earlier, on June 25, the Northwest Detention Center ended a six-day quarantine and lockdown that affected more than 900 of the 1,000 detainees held at the facility. The quarantine was imposed after one detainee fell ill with chickenpox; a second detainee showed signs of the infection on June 20. Doctors determined that all but 80 of the approximately 760 male detainees were immune from the disease after blood tests showed evidence of either the vaccine or a previous exposure. The 240 female detainees didn’t require testing because they’re segregated from the male population.
Court cases for detainees who are immune to chickenpox resumed on June 24, and deportations were to start again as early as June 25, said ICE spokesperson Lorie Dankers. Visits from friends, family members and attorneys were to resume on June 26. Detainees who aren’t immune to chickenpox will be quarantined through July 7. During that time, they can’t be deported or receive visitors. Detainees who arrived after June 24 were being placed into the same residence pods as immune detainees. [News Tribune, Tacoma, June 25)
From Immigration News Briefs, June 29
See our last post on the politics of immigration.