CACTUS - Most days during the week, the Cactus Branch Library has 30 to 40 children reading books or playing on the computer.At this point the story is still pretty fresh (I don't recall news coverage from yesterday evening, but have noticed televised coverage as of this morning). Last time ICE was in town, not only was the Swift meatpacking facility raided, but anyone looking even remotely Hispanic was being stopped and hassled by authorities. If you read through the rest of the article, you'll find that ICE officials are still using the same spin they used last time around.
But Tuesday, only about four children were inside the now quiet library.
It's usually not this quiet, said Lety Lara, the branch librarian.
This day, it was different.
Most people hid in their homes, keeping their children close to them, Lara said.
That's because Immigration Customs and Enforcement officials came to town, she said.
Their return to town came almost seven months after a December raid that led to the arrests of 295 undocumented immigrants.
ICE officials entered the Swift plant in Cactus before 9 a.m. and arrested at least two people. Government and company officials said Tuesday's raid was part of a continued investigation into illegal immigration and identity theft that spurred the Dec. 12 raid.
Lara, who was outside the plant early Tuesday, and other Cactus residents described seeing two white vans along with about 10 to 14 ICE officials at the plant. A plane circled overhead while agents were at the facility.
"Everybody is stopping everybody," Lara said. "Everyone is making sure the word is out."
Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman in Dallas, said Tuesday's action was part of an ongoing look into undocumented immigrants at the plant.
Rusnok did not say how many employees were detained, and no specific details on what spurred Tuesday's enforcement action were released. ICE officials said more details should be forthcoming today.
Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift, confirmed the two arrests but did not immediately know the employees' names. He said that there were no disruptions to the operations at the facility Tuesday.
ICE officials also descended on Swift facilities in Greeley, Colo., Marshalltown, Iowa, and Worthington, Minn., McHugh said. At least one person was arrested at the Marshalltown pork facility, McHugh said.
Lara said the streets of Cactus have been noticeably quiet since the raids and a devastating tornado in April that destroyed at least 70 homes in the town.
"This morning it has been quiet, even the streets are quiet," said Lara, whose house and five cars were destroyed in the tornado.
"I am crying now that I know that they (the ICE officials) are gone. I hope they didn't take anybody."
As time permits I'll try to update y'all with any news that might make its way to me. Obviously, if by chance a person from Cactus is reading this blog and would wish to contact me with an account of what went down I'd be more than willing to help spread the word.
Originally posted at The Left End of the Dial v2.0.