160 workers seized in immigration raid near Paris - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

160 workers seized in immigration raid near Paris

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An employee at Load Trail is taken into custody by federal agents on August 28, 2018. (ICE photo) An employee at Load Trail is taken into custody by federal agents on August 28, 2018. (ICE photo)
Federal agents supervise the custody of dozens of employees at the Load Trial plant on August 28, 2018. (ICE photo) Federal agents supervise the custody of dozens of employees at the Load Trial plant on August 28, 2018. (ICE photo)
ICE used buses to remove alleged undocumented immigrants from the Load Trail manufacturing plant on August 28, 2018. (KTEN) ICE used buses to remove alleged undocumented immigrants from the Load Trail manufacturing plant on August 28, 2018. (KTEN)

SUMNER, Texas -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a trailer manufacturing company in this Lamar County Community on Tuesday.

ICE said 160 workers at the Load Trail facility were taken into custody on immigration violations. The agency alleges they were working unlawfully in the United States.

"This can't be happening," said Load Trial employee Christian Lopez. "It's unbelievable."

He said he had family members who were still inside the facility.

"They were scared," Lopez said. "All I know is, that wasn't fair."

Homeland Security said it received information that Load Trail may have known that it hired workers who were using fraudulent identification documents.

"Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses," Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger said in a written statement. "In addition, they take jobs away from U.S. citizens and legal residents, and they create an atmosphere poised for exploiting their illegal workforce."

Berger emphasized that this is a criminal case involving Load Trail, but an ICE spokesman told KTEN there were "no criminal arrests" on Tuesday.

In a statement, Load Trail called the raid "disappointing" and surprising, but pledged to cooperate with investigators.

In 2014, Load Trail was ordered to pay $445,993 for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ more than 179 unauthorized workers.

Hours after agents moved in, buses were seen removing personnel from the property. ICE said they will be interviewed to determine if they have any "medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations." 

"A list of free legal services is being provided to all unauthorized workers," Berger said. "Everyone we encountered today is being treated with dignity and respect."

The agency said in all cases, the arrested individuals will be fingerprinted and processed for removal from the United States.Load Trail's website says it currently has more than 500 workers at its 420,000 square foot facility in Sumner, which is located 16 miles northwest of Paris. The company, established in 1966, manufactures a variety of trailers.

Christian Lopez told he he will not go back to work, unclear about what the future holds for him and for family members.

"Hoping, just hoping, nothing bad happens to them," he said.

KTEN.com editor Walt Zwirko in Denison and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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