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ICE agents arrest 55 working at Asian restaurants in metro Jackson, Meridian

By JACK WEATHERLY

Fifty-five foreign nationals were arrested Wednesday in six Asian restaurants in metro Jackson and two in Meridian  by agents of the Immigration and U.S. Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Thomas Byrd, public affairs officer for the ICE office in New Orleans, would not say what the charges were, only that the agents executed criminal search warrants. Byrd said he did not know if there would be further arrests. Also, he said he could not break down the number of arrest by restaurant.

Byrd also would not reveal where the arrestees were being held.

The restaurants in the metro area are: three Ichiban Chinese restaurants, two in Flowood and one in Pearl; China Buffet in Pearl; Red Samurai in Madison, and Hibachi Express in Clinton.

In Meridian, the restaurants are Sake Sushi and China II.

Byrd said the agents did not shut down the restaurants. Calls to the restaurants on Thursday confirmed that five restaurants were open for business. Messages left at China II, Hibachi Express were not returned and there was no answer at China Buffet.

“I’m pretty sure they’re free to open as soon as we’re done,” Byrd said Wednesday.

The agency will turn over their information from the searches to the U.S. attorney’s office in Jackson. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney said the office had no comment on the continuing investigation.

The actions come at a time when the Trump administration is ramping up its immigration enforcement efforts in the wake of adverse federal court decisions regarding a temporary ban of immigration from seven Middle Eastern nations.

John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, in a memorandum released Tuesday called for enforcement of immigration laws “by using all . . . statutory authorities to the greatest extent practicable.”

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Kam Ngai, co-owner of the Ichiban restaurants, said that he could not talk beyond saying that there are “some issues with the government.”

Jimmy Chiang, manager of the Ichiban Buffet in Flowood, said in an earlier, unrelated interview that the Ichiban restaurants employ about 20 full-time employees each.

About Jack Weatherly

5 comments

  1. Well, well, looks like employers stealing job from American workers. So they won’t have to pay income taxes and under pay these workers. So they could increase their bottom line.

    • Per your information you do not know the real situation. A lot of immigrants,have fake ss cards which means they pay taxes and never receive a refund at the end of the year. Others who are paid under the table are not criminals; big time drug dealers working at a restaurant give me a break. Those paid under the table are just trying to make a living, feed their families. A lot of Americans work under the table and I do not see anyone bitching about that. This UnAmerican round up reminds me of Hitler rounding up the Jews but that is what you get when you have a fascist for a President.

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