CHAPEL HILL- At least half of the men that immigration agents arrested this week in Orange and Chatham counties were not the intended targets, including three brothers who worked at a family-owned Franklin Street restaurant.
Luis David Ordoñez and Cruz Enrique Ordoñez Guerra, who work at Roots Bakery, Bistro & Bar, were cleaning up a mobile home Wednesday on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when men showed up wearing vests and shirts labeled “police.” They had badges, but the word “ICE” was in small letters, neighbors said.
Luis Ordoñez called their brother, Roots co-owner Gabriel Ordoñez Ramos, to interpret, because the agents were asking about a man who had failed to appear in court on a drunken-driving charge. Gabriel and his brothers were arrested instead.
Now they’re in a federal detention center in Atlanta with at least 22 other people seized across the Triangle this week. There, they will await possible bond and deportation hearings.
“The majority of those targeted for arrest have criminal convictions beyond anything to do with their immigration status,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said Friday.
Durham-based El Centro Hispano identified the Orange and Chatham detainees Thursday: Besides the brothers, they included Marco Antonio Cano Velázquez, Hugo Waldemar Cano Velázquez, Manuel Isaias Ascencio Ortega, Edwin Enamorado, Otelio Mondragon, Josue Diaz Perez and Rufino Ruiz Dias.
The nonprofit agency has started a GoFundMe page to raise $30,000 for the families’ legal fees.
Roots co-owner Turtle Harrison said he and his brother-in-law Rolando Ordoñez Ramos haven’t slept in a couple of days. He drove to Raleigh to see his brothers-in-law before they were moved, but he was turned away. Now Gabriel’s wife and their 5-year-old daughter are staying with his family, because she doesn’t want to be alone, Harrison said.
The arrest has deeply affected the family, he said, and their Guatemalan-style restaurant is now short-staffed. They haven’t even thought about how it could affect their second location opening in Durham’s Hope Valley shopping center. Gabriel came to the United States as a child, he said; the others are more recent immigrants who were bullied and beaten in their native country.
By Tammy Grubb And Maria Elena Vizcaino for THE HERALD SUN
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