LatinaLista — Saturday nights are busy nights for any night club or restaurant in any part of the world. Yet, for 26 such Latino establishments in Dallas, last night wasn’t just busy but chaotic and frightening for workers and patrons.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with, the Dallas County District Attorney, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Dallas Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas raided bars, clubs, restaurants, supermarkets and pool halls in an attempt to crack down on security companies that hire undocumented immigrants as security guards.
A total of 49 undocumented immigrants who worked as security guards were reported arrested.
At 11 p.m. Saturday, teams made up of local, state and federal officers simultaneously hit 26 businesses in the Love Field area, Northwest Dallas, Old East Dallas and Lakewood. No injuries were reported.
Authorities recovered four pistols. Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from possessing firearms. Those arrested also face charges of being in the country illegallyâ€¦
Four of those arrested were from El Salvador and the others were Mexican, authorities said. One of the El Salvadorans was in the U.S. legally under Temporary Protected Status, immigration officials said. Itâ€™s unclear what charges he faces.
Obviously, the crackdown by ICE at such public places sends a message to the undocumented immigrant community that no place is safe. Yet, the same message is being received by immigrants who are also legally in the United States and know that in the government’s haste to apprehend anyone who “appears” to be undocumented, everyone is presumed undocumented until proven otherwise.
And though the raid targeted only security guards, the obvious intimidation of restaurant and bar staff, not to mention, the patrons, will certainly reverberate throughout the Latino business community and cause yet one more hardship to a struggling sector.