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Law enforcement checking immigration status in O’Neill

August 9, 2018

O’NEILL — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Nebraska State Patrol officials are apparently conducting an immigration raid throughout O’Neill including the O’Neill Ventures tomato plant on Highway 281.

“I can’t tell you much at this point because we have an ongoing operation going on,” said Carl Rusnok, an ICE spokesman.

The investigation began this morning before 9 a.m. NSP law enforcement officials are currently blocking the entrance to the plant and armed officials have surrounded the building.

A Homeland Security bus exited the plant around noon. The plant employs around 80 people. It is unclear how many illegal immigrants were detained on the bus.

ICE and other law enforcement officials were at a residence on East Benton Street early this morning. It is unknown at this time if anyone was detained.

Other businesses allegedly raided in O’Neill included the Tienda Mexicana grocery store and La Herradura, both located near Third and Douglas streets.

HerdCo feedlot near Bartlett also was allegedly raided. Christensen Farms near Atkinson was visited, but no individuals were detained.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau Holt County has an estimated 507 Hispanic residences as of 2017, up from 306 in 2010.

“The O’Neill Public School District is here for all our students who have been affected. We are here to provide whatever we can. We have councilors onsite. We are doing whatever we can to make it easier for the children,” said Superintendent Amy Shane.

The O’Neill Public Elementary has been opened to minors displaced.

“We have around a dozen students at the elementary school,” Shane said. “We have received a lot of phone calls and text from community members. We have a strong community support for the families.”

This story is still developing. The Holt County Independent will update as more information is made available.

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