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Detaining citizens, pointing guns and separating children - ICE’s actions at Corso’s called outrageous, outlandish and unAmerican

By Lynn Tramonte • Updated Jun 8, 2018 at 9:34 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following opinion piece was written and submitted by Lynn Tramonte, deportation defense coordinator for America’s Voice Education Fund and the Director of America’s Voice Ohio. America’s Voice is an organization that promotes immigration reform.


(UPDATE) The Channel 13 TV station in Toledo reported this: "13abc was the only television news journalists at the location as the searches happened."

However, video footage of the raid inside Corso’s has not been aired, so it appears the TV crew was only allowed outside the facility while an Associated Press photographer was allowed inside.

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(ORIGINAL STORY) On Tuesday, as TV cameras rolled, 200 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents — aided by “aerial surveillance” — descended upon Corso’s Flower & Garden Center in Sandusky and Castalia.

All told, more than 100 men and women were arrested. Reporters from a local TV station were on the scene when the raids occurred, making it clear that the Trump Administration was looking for a publicized “shock and awe” show of force as they carried out this massive raid.

As more details and first-hand accounts emerge, it’s clear that ICE’s reliance military-style tactics — such as detaining citizens and coming in with guns blazing — were extremely aggressive and all part of a larger strategy to treat ordinary workers like dangerous criminals and purposefully sow fear. Meanwhile, spouses, children and other loves ones are left devastated, searching for a way to pick up the pieces — or even to find each other in the disarray.

The local Norwalk Reflector newspaper published the first-hand impression of local resident and U.S. citizen Rodolfo Reyes, who was with his 19-year old citizen daughter at the garden center raided by ICE. The depiction of the scene and the details of ICE’s tactics make clear that the chaos and fear was intentional — and included the detention of U.S. citizens such as Reyes:

“A bunch of cops came running into the warehouses, pointing guns at people,” he said. “Everybody was scared. They tied everybody’s hands up with black zip ties. Even we (my daughter and I) were tied up even though we’re U.S. citizens.”

Reyes said when the police burst through the doors with weapons and police K-9s “everybody panicked because it scared them” and they began to run. He said the police kept shouting “this is a search warrant” but “wouldn’t say what the search warrant was for.”

“The police were real, real, real rough with the people,” he said. “They had an older man who was 50 or 60 years old; they put zip ties on him too. Then an old woman, she was running. She said ‘I see everybody running, so why wouldn't I run. I didn’t know what was going on.’ Then they started to go through all of our things and they put us in groups of like five and started taking people out.”

“…I know they’re doing their job and some of them are not U.S. citizens, but we are human,” Reyes said. “We should be treated like human beings, not animals. I am a U.S. citizen. But it doesn’t matter where you are or who you are or where you are from. We are supposed to be treated like humans. We shouldn’t be treated like animals. Everybody was running, and they were throwing dogs on the people and pointing guns. That’s ridiculous. That’s too much.”

Lynn Tramonte, deportation defense coordinator for America’s Voice Education Fund and the Director of America’s Voice Ohio, made this statement:

“The Trump Administration thrives off of terrorizing immigrants and breaking up families. The tactics and strategy on display from ICE are part of this larger agenda, but are outrageous and unacceptable. Members of Congress and the Ohio congressional delegation need to investigate the issues and stand up for for the American children who will are missing a parent today, because Trump’s political police force wanted ‘shock and awe’ headlines and to spread fear.”

Other observers similarly condemned ICE’s tactics and larger motivations.

“There were many children left behind with baby-sitters, day care centers, and so forth, what’s going to happen to those children?” Veronica Dahlberg of HOLA Ohio asked.

“Government is overreaching and trying to make a big splash, instill fear in the business community and immigrant communities and make the headlines,” attorney Josie Gonzalez said. “It’s a tremendous use of resources to accomplish that purpose.”

“We have gone to the Department of Homeland Security and told them that in the absence of a real solution to the immigration problem, enforcement activities do more harm than good,” said Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort’s senior vice president for industry advocacy: “While these agencies are technically correct in enforcing the laws, is this really the best use of their power?””

America’s Voice is an organization that promotes immigration reform.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following information was submitted by Faith in Public Life, a national network of nearly 50,000 clergy and faith leaders.


Ohio Faith Leaders Denounce Massive ICE Raids at Landscaping Company

On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 114 working Ohioans at two locations of Corso's Flower & Garden Center, a nursery and landscaping company.

Faith leaders across Ohio denounced the largest immigration worksite raid of the Trump Administration.

Here is a sampling:

Cantor Jack Chomsky, Congregation Tifereth Israel, Columbus: “I raise my voice along with many clergy of different faiths and denominations to speak out strongly against the recent raids by ICE in Sandusky, Ohio. What a complete violation of our communal and religious values. Our country needs reasonable immigration policy reform, something Congress has failed to do for a generation. Victimizing hard-working people in our communities, no matter their immigration status, tears apart the social fabric of our society and is a terrible waste of public resources.”

Imam Horsed Noah, Somali Islamic Centers of Ohio, Columbus: “As an Imam and a parent, I believe rounding up and deporting our neighbors, students, coworkers, friends, and family is a great injustice. Although people can be given labels such as ‘alien,’ ‘undocumented,’ and ‘illegal,’ people of faith know that immigrants — regardless of their legal status — are individuals deeply loved by God and created in God’s Divine image. Let's love and not deport.”

Sister Carren Herring, RSM, Sisters of Mercy, Cincinnati: “As a Sister of Mercy dedicated to serving God's people, especially those on the margins, I speak out for the dignity of our brothers and sisters arrested in the raids. I ask that we devote our energy and resources to welcoming and valuing our immigrant neighbors.”

The Rev. David Long-Higgins, David’s United Church of Christ, Canal Winchester: “As a pastor in the Christian tradition, I believe the values of protecting and supporting children, working hard to provide for your family, and serving your community are key expressions of the way of Jesus. ICE’s aggressive, cruel raids and detentions directly contradict these values. As a result of yesterday’s actions, hundreds of children are left endangered and traumatized. Communities that have relied on the labor of these workers will be diminished. A more humane and just system must be born so that all people may live a life free of fear where they can live in dignity.”

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