Immigration officials on Wednesday arrested about 280 employees of a North Texas-based tech company suspected of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, the largest operation of its kind ever organized by a single company since 11 years.
More than 200 law enforcement personnel took part in the CVE Technology Group operation in Allen, north of Dallas. According to officials, the company is refurbishing and repairing telecommunications equipment, including mobile phones.
"The number of administrative arrests we have made today suggests the magnitude of this criminal investigation," said Katrina Berger, Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) during a meeting. ;a press conference. Berger said the investigators had been working on the case for "at least a year" after receiving "many tips that they [CVE] hired illegal aliens who used fraudulent documents. "
HSI began verifying the company's I-9 forms in January – confirming the eligibility of future employees for US jobs – and confirming "many hiring irregularities," according to an Immigration statement. and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
A breakdown of nationalities, ages and possible criminal history of those arrested was not immediately available. Other CVE sites in Plano (Texas) and Riverdale (N.J.) were not affected by the operation.
Berger stated that HSI would interview the arrested employees before determining whether they should remain in detention or be released for humanitarian reasons.
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"Companies that knowingly engage illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses," Berger said. "In addition, they suppress the jobs of US citizens and legal residents and create a climate conducive to the exploitation of an illegal labor force."
Wednesday's operation was the largest on a single site since May 12, 2008, when 389 employees of Agriprocessors slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, reported been arrested. The raid led to the arrest and sentencing of the Sholom Rubashkin executive for money laundering. Rubashkin was sentenced to 27 years in prison, but his sentence was commuted to serving time served by President Trump in December 2017.