Sandusky residents react to large immigration raid; Kaptur urges transparency

SANDUSKY COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - One day after 114 workers were arrested by federal agents in Erie County, residents are responding to what happened in their town.

Tuesday's sting operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was the culmination of a long investigation into hundreds of workers at Corso's.

Multiple workers were found to have evaded taxes or were using false identities. Some Sandusky residents were happy to hear of the raid.

"I think immigration is the biggest issue that's facing the American people. I think that we need to put Americans first, all of us," said Paula Morin Coker, who said she had worked for President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Others were frustrated to hear how many local jobs were being filled with apparent illegal aliens.

"I'll never buy from here again, never. Not when you've got all of these locals out of work that need jobs," said Dawna Hesten, who said she applied for a job at Corso's and was not hired.

Some people WTOL spoke with who were upset about the families of those arrested declined to go on camera.

But there were some ladies who couldn't be happier with yesterday's outcome.

"I just think that this is absolutely fabulous, and it has been a long time coming, and those jobs should go to Americans. And don't tell me there's people who won't do them. It's good hard work and there's nothing hard with good hard work," said Coker.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D, Ohio), who is dean of the Ohio Delegation, released a statement in regard to the ICE action.

"We are in direct contact with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as well as local advocates in regards to the 114 people that were questioned and in some cases detained, in yesterday's raid in Sandusky. My office is working to get as much information as possible and we encourage transparency from ICE officials as this process unfolds," she said.

"In this tense environment created by an Administration intent on dividing us, we want to make sure everything about this action is above board and that individuals are being treated with dignity and respect. I know many Ohioans are upset and alarmed by these actions by the government and I share their concern. We hope to share more information as it becomes available.  I urge anyone to contact our regional offices if they need assistance at 800-964-4699.

"The tragic reality is agricultural workers are vulnerable and targets for those looking to exploit them. Congress must regularize the seasonal and migrant labor flow across the Americas and we must end modern-day indentured servitude that is all too commonplace."

Corso's Flower and Garden Center reopened Tuesday afternoon and they were open Wednesday.

As of right now, there's no word on if any charges will be filed against the owners of the landscaping and flower company.

Those who were detained were transported to St. Clair County in Michigan, Youngstown, Ohio, and in Northwest Ohio in Seneca County.

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