Topping our news, federal immigration officials made a raid at a Mishawaka business this morning. Three dozen people, all alleged illegal aliens, were arrested at Janco Composites, Inc.
According to Immigration and Customs officials or ICE, a total of 16 men and 20 women were arrested at Janco Composites during that raid. A source tells us all of those workers arrested at Janco had social security numbers.
Friends and family of the suspected illegal aliens met for a service at South Bend's Saint Adalbert's Church.
Lighting candles for loved ones, family and friends of the 36 arrested workers met, many acknowledging the workers were here illegally, but also wishing those arrested might get a second chance. “They did break the law by coming here illegally, but they are working, paying their taxes, doing everything else legally as much as possible,” says Ana Perez, attending the church service
“Those people have children and those people, I don't know where they go. Maybe back to Mexico, what happens with the little kids?” says Geraldo Luna, also attending the church service.
Tuesday morning, ICE officials from Chicago led the three dozen arrested workers from Janco's building. A search warrant also allowed immigration officials to seize documents at the company.
“This is an investigation that began in late 2006, we received credible information that a large number of illegal aliens were working there, says ICE spokesperson, Gail Montenegro.
As of Tuesday evening, officials at Janco had no comment on the situation. Meantime, immigration officials tell NewsCenter 16 that the workers are now going through deportation proceedings. “This is a new strategy for ICE, focusing efforts to combat illegal employees in the work site, under the former INS, we brought administrative fines and that used to be viewed as a cost of doing business,” says Montenegro.
Now, many are left with more questions as the immigration debate rages on across Michiana and the rest of the country. “The fact that they have children that are born in the U.S. and consequently American citizens, there are problems with educating and I think we need the best minds in the country to solve this problem,” says Roger Jacobs, also attending the church service.
ICE officials say 35 of those arrested today are from Mexico, while one is from El Salvador. A spokesperson for ICE says they're hoping that the threat of criminal charges or a serious prison sentence will deter employers from considering hiring illegal aliens.