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Immigration Advocates: Raid On Chester County Farm Driving Immigrant Community Underground

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The immigrant community is on high alert after Immigration officials targeted a Chester County mushroom farm, arresting several undocumented workers. It was the first ICE raid at a farm in more than a decade.

It all happened on April 26th when Immigration officials went to Kaolin Mushrooms in Avondale. Workers say officers asked to search for four individuals and were allowed in; ICE interrogated numerous others, arresting 12 people, not originally identified. All were taken to York County Prison to face deportation.

"The impact that it has on communities is that it spreads terror and it impacts people's abilities to live," said Immigration attorney Bridget Cambria.

Cambria says she seen the impact of raids in her town of Reading, and says they drive people underground. There are reports that immigrants are cancelling appointments and not going to work. Friend of Farmworkers is investigating the incident. Cambria is not involved in this case, but believes ICE may have used racial profiling and violated worker rights.

"Because they are engaging in these searches without warrants and without cause," she said. "They use the guise of looking for other people to then collaterally ask people who they see in the area questions to obtain what their status is."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued the following statement:

ICE's enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. We conducted a targeted enforcement operation at Kaolin Mushrooms in Avondale on April 26th. 12 individuals were arrested and served with administrative warrants. The arrested individual have been taken to York County Prison.

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