A restaurant in southeastern Pennsylvania was closed for about two weeks after four of its employees were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
The Aroma Buffet and Grill reopened Wednesday morning with some new employees.
The new restaurant manager who was hired to replace the previous manager told The York (Pa.) Daily Record newspaper that he was not sure if his predecessor knew about the migration status of the arrested employees.
“I’m not sure if the previous manager hired them or knew their proper status, or if those employees provided false information,” the new manager told the press.
Those arrested were allegedly living and working in the U.S. but hailed from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
It’s not clear if this raid was part of reported stepped-up immigration enforcement efforts or if they’re part of regular ICE procedures.
Stephen Converse, the attorney representing the four men said to the media that none of his clients is a criminal. The only crime they had committed is operating in the U.S. without proper documentation, he said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that last month alone, more than 680 people were arrested in large metropolitan cities across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
The arrests signal a dramatic change from the Obama era, and according to Converse, the Obama administration was methodical, only focusing on criminal aliens.
It also looks like ICE is just getting started and these raids might just get more and more intensive in the days to come.
To avoid a situation where your business is brought to a standstill due to an ICE operation, one option is to use E-Verify as a means of verifying whether a potential employee is eligible to work in the U.S.
Images: Dept. of Homeland Security, Aroma Buffet