SANDUSKY, Ohio — On June 5, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 114 workers at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center, a landscaping business in Sandusky, Ohio, in the largest workplace raid of the Trump administration so far.
The raid stunned the region’s immigrant population, leaving, among other things, an uncounted number of children without one or both parents.
In the days following the raid, those left behind struggled to find their loved ones in ICE’s notoriously opaque detention system. In many cases, people couldn’t reach their relatives for days.
And it’s worse in Ohio, where, for an estimated undocumented population of 83,000, there are only 35 pro bono immigration advocates statewide, according to the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. But one immigration attorney Brian Hoffman, of the International Institute of Akron, put together a rapid response team to visit the for-profit detention center on the outskirts of Youngstown where some 50 workers were held.
“As far as I know, we’ll be the first attorneys who have been able to visit these folks so far,” Hoffman told VICE News. “This is an extremely traumatic experience [for the immigrants]. When you go to law school, they don't offer an elective on how to be a lawyer and also a trauma first responder. That's just something a lot of us have had to learn on our own over the last two administrations.”
This segment originally aired June 11, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.