BY BRIAN WILLIAMS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Stepping up their harassment of undocumented workers here, federal immigration cops on February 1 arrested 83 immigrants working in dozens of restaurants in adjoining Montgomery County. This was the largest one-day Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) raid in Maryland in over five years.
The day-long operation targeted 37 restaurants, including delicatessens, bagel shops, and McDonald's franchises.
INS agents singled out those who looked "foreign," arresting all those who did not carry a green card or other work authorization papers. They were handcuffed and put on a bus to a National Guard Armory in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they were fingerprinted and photographed in preparation for being sent to a detention center on Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Ten of those arrested were subsequently released after providing legal papers for residing in the United States.
Clariza Esquivel, 18, who emigrated with her family from El Salvador five years ago, said the INS picked her up about 8:30 a.m. while she was working at McDonald's. She told the INS cops that she was not carrying her papers but they could verify her status by looking at her job application.
"They told me they didn't care about that, that they had to see the card," Esquivel said. "They didn't ask for things nicely. Everything was done rudely. They pushed us and they yelled at us. And they handcuffed us."
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