Wednesday, May 7, 2008

33 workers arrested in immigration raid (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

33 workers arrested in immigration raid

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 03:35 PM


Federal immigration officials raided the construction site for the new federal courthouse in downtown Richmond this morning and arrested 33 workers on immigration violations.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents rounded up 29 men and four women working at the site who were residing here illegally. They were charged with immigration violations and are being detained for further processing, said Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for ICE in Washington.

The workers' native countries included Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Peru, Fobbs said.

"It's still ongoing and it's still being processed," Fobbs said of the investigation.

Virginia State Police assisted in the raid and supplied four state troopers "to assist traffic flow as vehicles entered and exited," said state police spokesman Sgt. Tom Cunningham.

The courthouse building at Seventh and Broad streets is in the final stages of construction and is expected to open this summer.

The builder for the project is Tompkins Builders Inc., based in Washington, which does private and public sector construction.

A spokeswoman for Turner Construction, which owns Tompkins, was expected to issue a statement about today's arrests later today.

The new courthouse, developed by the U.S. General Services Administration, will replace the federal court building at 10th and Main streets, parts of which date to before the Civil War.

The new seven-story structure includes a six-story atrium. The 349,000-square-foot building will have about six football fields worth of office and courtroom space. The project is costing an estimated $104 million.

Contact Mark Bowes at (804) 649-6450 or

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