Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations detained 280 people during an operation at an Allen business on Wednesday afternoon.
Multiple large buses were seen parked at the back entrance of a building in the 900 block of Enterprise Boulevard, according to helicopter footage from Fort Worth Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV. Allen is between McKinney and Plano.
The building is home to CVE Technology Group, which refurbishes and repairs electronics.
The people arrested on Wednesday are undocumented immigrants who were working unlawfully at the facility, according to a news release from ICE. Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger said managers of CVE Technology Group could face charges but she couldn’t speak specifically about this case.
Agents arrived at the building at around 10 a.m. to serve search warrants, according to reports.
This was the largest number of arrests made at one work site in the last 10 years nationwide, Berger said.
The investigation began when Homeland Security Investigations received multiple tips that CVE Group may have hired people who were in the country illegally. Agents have been investigating the company for at least a year, Berger said.
In January, HSI began an audit of CVE’s I-9 Forms, which confirmed numerous hiring irregularities, she said.
“Businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens create an unfair advantage over their competing businesses,” she said, adding that work sites such as these exploit the workers.
“I can’t say this is happening in this case, but it’s ripe for exploitation of an illegal workforce,” she said.
The ongoing criminal investigation will look into the working conditions of the employees, Berger said.
She said that ICE took “a number of steps to make sure it was conducted in a safe and humane manner.”
Everyone who was arrested will be interviewed by ICE staff to record any medical, sole-caregiver or other humanitarian situations.
“Based on these interviews, ICE will determine if those arrested remain in custody or are considered for humanitarian release,” Berger said.
According to KERA News, employees with legal immigration papers were given green wrist bands to wear. Agents apparently arrived at the facility at about 10 a.m. and instructed workers to group together by legal status.
During the raid, protestors gathered outside of the business.
Berger said charges that the undocumented workers could face include identity theft and using false documents.
Berger said a hotline is available for family members of those arrested in this operation to address questions about their detention location and status, and the removal process. This hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 1-888-351-4024.
CVE Technology Group’s founder, Howard Cho, was awarded the Minority Manufacturer of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2009, according to Business Wire. His son, Edward Cho, now owns the company.