Late yesterday morning, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Labor agents raided a tortilla factory in the Heights, rounding up 11 undocumented workers and detaining them for questioning before releasing them later that afternoon, an ICE spokesperson said.
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ICE's Greg Palmore said in a phone interview that agents executed a criminal search warrant at La Espiga de Oro on West 15th yesterday, but he could not reveal specific information about why the business was targeted, citing the ongoing investigation. Palmore said no deportation orders were issued to the workers, who were given authorization by ICE to work legitimately in the United States while being retained as witnesses.
"Generally, when we go into facilities like this we're concerned with unsafe working conditions," Palmore said. "We often encounter unsafe conditions and an egregious amount of unreported workplace injuries in places known to hire illegal aliens."
Palmore said no charges have been filed yet against the owners of La Espiga de Oro, which has been in business since 1977, according to its website. La Espiga de Oro declined to comment.