Former Load Trail workers facing deportation after summer immigration bust

Published: Feb. 20, 2019 at 10:20 PM CST
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It's been almost six months since immigration officers detained nearly 160 employees from a Texoma trailer manufacturing company.

Several of those workers have been deported, but many are still in the U.S., their families afraid for what could happen next.

One of the worker's daughters is a Honey Grove elementary student. Her dad is working for a metal roofing company in a different state.

He came into the country on a work permit, but didn't get it renewed so he was arrested during the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid in August.

But now his family is living in fear until his next court date.

"It's really hard to be without him," she said.

She didn't want her face shown for her parent's safety. Both are not U.S. citizens, even though she and her sister are.

"And so the day I found out immigration was coming, I was like they can't take me. I was born here," she said.

Her dad was one of the nearly 160 workers arrested at Load Trail for their illegal immigration status in August.

"I was like mom here, take my money I don't care. Just I want my dad back," she said.

Like more than half of the workers, he bonded out.

Since then, he got a permit to work in another state.

The family no longer lets their children play outside.

"And so we locked the doors. We didn't stay outside as much," she said.

Honey Grove superintendent Todd Morrison said his court date is set for 2020, which is when he could learn if he gets to stay in the country.

"But maybe that will happen, I don't know. I was pretty sad when I found out," the worker's daughter said.

Her dad is one of nine parents or guardians with students at Honey Grove schools arrested in the operation, affecting around 23 students.

"We all came together as a community, we all came together as a school district to see if we could ease the transition for our kids as best as possible," Morrison said.

Morrison said community members pitched in to give money to families of the kids whose dads were out of work.

"They have families here in the United States. No criminal history, no criminal record," said immigration attorney Dylan James.

James is representing 10 former Load Trail workers.

He said he's had clients who have already been deported.

"We've had people that have been able to file applications for asylum," James said.

He said some have filed applications to stay because they've been here for more than 10 years and have U.S. citizen family members.

But he said people who are not legal citizens, even before they go immigration court, are a government priority for deportation.

"I mean I'm okay if we go to Mexico. I mean everyone will be together and stuff. So it's kind of not scary but it is," the girl said.

Morrison said of the nine parents, one voluntarily went back to his home country in Latin America.

The criminal investigation into Load Trail is ongoing.