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Immigration Agents Detain Workers At Route 66 Pizzeria On Southeast Side, Officials Say

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A community was on edge Monday night, hours after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents descended upon a neighborhood pizza shop on the Southeast Side.

Route 66 Pizza, at 10180 S. Indianapolis Ave. in the East Side neighborhood had a handwritten sign on the door announcing that it was closed until further notice, after ICE detained workers Tuesday morning.

As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported, we are told five people were detained Tuesday morning. They were the five people who were working at the time.

People who live and work in the area said law enforcement showed up around 11 a.m.

Lydia, who lives near the restaurant, said it was "pretty upsetting and sad."

She called the workers at the pizzeria "very friendly people.

The neighborhood favorite is just feet from Lydia's home.

"I hope that they're able to, you know, talk with, you know, groups and see what can be resolved," she said.

Gabriela Lopez works across the street.

"I'm disappointed that this happened and I just hope that CPD wasn't involved," she said. "I just hope that there is some resolution for these people that were detained."

A couple blocks away, CBS 2 found the local group that's stepping up.

"It was pretty heartbreaking for some of the family members," said Ana Guajardo, executive director of the United Workers Center.

When asked about reports that the owner of Route 66 Pizza was also detained, Guajardo said, "That's information I'm not willing to give at the moment."

"We want to be careful with what information we provide out there, but we have been in contact with a relative with every worker," she said. "At the moment, we are still trying to ensure that they all have the proper legal representation."

Guajardo emphasized that those who are detained should know their rights.

"We want everyone to know that they have the right to an attorney," To communicate what's been happening and get the legal support that they need in addition to ensuring that their family members are contacted as well."

Both Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) also sounded alarm about the ICE action.

"We are actively monitoring the situation and engaging with community partners for more information on this incident, and to provide assistance to the affected families," Lightfoot tweeted. "Chicago is and always will be a welcoming city, and we stand firmly with our immigrant residents."

Chicago is and always will be a welcoming city, and we stand firmly with our immigrant residents. Make sure your friends and neighbors know their rights:

— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) September 23, 2019

CBS 2 reached ICE for more information, asking what happened, why, and whether it happening elsewhere.

A public affairs officer issued a statement:

"For operational security and for privacy reasons, ICE cannot disclose the details of this targeted enforcement.

"I would like to remind your viewers that ICE does not conduct raids or sweeps. The use of these terms evokes images of indiscriminate enforcement actions taken without probable cause. Nothing could be further from the truth. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement focuses its limited resources first and foremost by targeting those who pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security, and our officers make arrests every single day.

"Our ongoing goal within ICE is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our local elected officials and local law enforcement partners. We will continue our efforts to work with the city of Chicago in support of public safety. Our ICE officers provide a valuable public service by removing criminal aliens who pose a significant public-safety threat to their own immigrant communities. ICE officers also enforce U.S. immigration laws, and they carry out the removal orders of federal immigration judges."

As for what's next? Molina is told the five people detained here Monday morning were being held downtown Monday night. We will follow up.

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