SEATTLE – Many of the workers arrested by immigration agents last month in a Bellingham work site raid have been released and given permission to work.
In February, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 28 people at a Yamato Engine Specialists plant. They were suspected of being in the country illegally.
The raid was the first mass arrest of immigrants since President Barack Obama took office and appeared to contradict his policy that federal agents focus more on employers who hire undocumented workers than on the workers themselves. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered a review of the raid.
The Bellingham Herald reports ICE gave the immigrants work permits or the option of returning to their native country. ICE spokeswoman Lorie Dankers says the workers were released pending further investigation of the engine company.
Rosalinda Guillen, a community organizer in Bellingham, says most of the workers are remaining in the area with their families, and that two were deported