A series of ICE raids have forced some restaurants to close this week after nearly all of the staff was led away in handcuffs by ICE agents. The businesses located in west suburban St. Charles say there was not enough staff left after the surprise raids by immigration enforcement.
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The move has led some immigration activists to criticize the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and has tried telling the government agency to back off. The activists say the raids are hurting families and businesses, but what about how companies run almost entirely by illegals hurts local families and economies?
Erick Diaz, an employee of a business in St. Charles said, "Well I was working at my restaurant, typical day, normal day. And we just start seeing undercover cars come in." Diaz was working in a restaurant in downtown St. Charles Tuesday night when armed ICE agents entered the establishment carrying a photo of a man they said they were looking for. The agents demanded to talk to the kitchen staff.
"They didn't have no warrant. We told them they can't go in, because obviously no warrant," Diaz said. Other businesses allowed the agents in such as one restaurant called "Francesca's" where ICE agents took six workers from the kitchen into custody for being undocumented.
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Wednesday night, several more restaurants were forced to close or offer partial menus after remaining workers bolted upon hearing of the raids. "My restaurant actually closed early because, like I said, all our kitchen guys were afraid to come in cause the ICE guys were coming around. Obviously, you don't want to risk it," Diaz said.
A statement from ICE said, "ICE officers are out in the community every day conducting targeted arrests. While looking for those specific individuals, ICE officers sometimes encounter others who are also in violation of U.S. immigration laws."
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