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ICE Officials Raid Phoenix-Area Car Wash Chain

April Callen • Aug 19, 2013

Over the weekend, federal agents stormed more than a dozen car wash locations of Danny’s Car Wash throughout the Phoenix, AZ-area, causing chaos and distress for undocumented residents and their families.

ICE officials claim the raid was a “criminal investigation,” targeting employers for alleged “immigration fraud, possible identity theft, and financial violations.” Homeland Security Investigations official Barbara Gonzalez stressed, “We don’t target the employees.  We’re targeting the companies that are not playing by the rules…the companies that are not following the law.”

However, the few details ICE has revealed about the raid, coupled with video footage from bystanders and news crews, suggests that several employees, not simply employers, account for those detained.

The LA Times reports: “Agents arrested 14 people, including four U.S. citizens and 10 Mexican nationals,” who were expected to appear in federal court today.

Also from the LA Times, according to ICE spokeswoman Amber Cargile:

“Immigration agents interviewed 223 people as part of Saturday’s operation. Of those interviewed, 30 people were taken into custody by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations officials for possible deportation, based on prior criminal or immigration histories […]

Prosecutors elected not to charge the remaining 179 people who were interviewed, based on the agency’s enforcement guidelines, and they were released within hours […].”

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Puente Arizona released a statement yesterday, admonishing ICE for rounding up “hundreds of workers, placing some in handcuffs,” causing “fear throughout the Phoenix area as family members went temporarily missing and word spread of ski-masked agents detaining car wash customers alongside workers across the city.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is using the summer congressional recess as a time to visit with constituents to drum up support for an immigration bill.  Arizona, though, has been, and continues to be, the epicenter of harsh anti-immigrant efforts and community-terrorizing practices – from SB 1070 to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Saturday’s raid was, unfortunately, just another bitter reminder of how little compassion the state carries for its immigrant residents.


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