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Stop the raids, justice for Naples, FL workers

By staff |
July 28, 2014
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Naples, FL - In the early morning of July 16, one of Florida's biggest workplace raids led to 160 employees being investigated, with at least 16 under arrest.

Back in 2011, a former employee of Fruit Dynamics went to the doctor after an injury on the job.The doctor discovered the worker was undocumented and allegedly was using someone else's Social Security number.

Collier County officials began investigating Fruit Dynamics, the people who worked there, and after a three-year long operation, deputies raided Fruit Dynamics.

Naples is part of Collier County which still implements the harsh federal program 287 (g). 287 (g) allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to train local police. Police then act as an extension of ICE: arresting, detaining and finally taking undocumented cases to ICE who then may decide whether to deport an immigrant or continue detaining them.

Raul Vidaurri a U.S. citizen who worked at Fruit Dynamics and was present during the raid states, "Many of those who were separated were scared and two, a man and a woman, passed out and were taken away in an ambulance. I was the only one who had a phone with a signal, so a lot of them asked me to call their families."

While the deputies are patting themselves on their backs, these 160 employees have an unknown future. The Obama administration is still conducting the hated workplace and community raids, even though they continue issuing statements denying this.

Many of these workers are Mexican and Central American - nationalities that are almost never able to obtain legal residency. Children of Central American are also being detained in detention centers.

The Fruit Dynamics employees were simply trying to provide for their families. The undocumented are just trying to work. To stamp them with an ‘identity fraud’ label is pointing the finger at the wrong people. The ones who should be blamed for the inability to solve the immigration system are sitting in their cushy, political seats reaping off the profits made by these hard-working employees. Detaining or deporting the Fruit Dynamics employees is separating families and making it even harder for these employees to ever apply for residency.

A nearby community group, Raices En Tampa, is coordinating a call-in-day to the Collier County Sheriff's office, July 29. Raices En Tampa encourages you to participate by joining in on the action. Demand, "Drop the Charges against the #NaplesWorkers, release them now!" Facebook event here: