CORTLAND – The owner of Alfredo’s Iron Works Inc., where blacksmith workers were taken into custody Friday on immigration charges, has posted a public apology on Facebook.
Alfredo De La Cruz said in the post that he’s apologized to law enforcement, but that all the workers’ income was reported, withholding taxes were withheld and taxes were paid.
Private lawyer Omar Salguero Duarte confirmed midday Friday that that morning, “multiple workers” were taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from the factory at 280 W. Lincoln Highway. DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott confirmed his office assisted in establishing a perimeter.
In his post, De La Cruz refers to himself as a fourth-generation blacksmith worker who runs a family business, and said the workers came to the country with experience in ornamental and architectural iron work. He points out that his factory built the iron art sculpture at Barsema Hall at Northern Illinois University, as well as the iron gate pieces at the Ellwood House Museum.
Jim Luebke, chairman of the DeKalb County Democratic Party, sent a release Sunday night voicing his group’s opposition to the raid.
“Both here and all across our country, actions like this hurt American farmers and small business people as well as their workers,” the release said. “Punishing working people and breaking up families is not the way to fix a broken immigration system, that was designed to exploit workers whatever their immigration status.”
An ICE spokesperson referred questions to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Rockford. Joe Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the office, said he couldn’t comment on how many people were arrested, and he said he couldn’t confirm or deny other businesses in DeKalb County were investigated.
Most often, people arrested on immigration charges – which Luebke emphasized are civil, not criminal – are taken to the McHenry County Jail, where they’re not allowed to receive phone calls. In order to leave an urgent message, you must call 815-338-9396 and leave the detainee’s full name, alien registration number and your name, as well as a telephone number where you can be reached.