HOUSTON—At least 85 suspected illegal immigrants were detained Wednesday in an ICE raid in west Harris County.
A tip led agents to a single-story house in the 3400 block of Boxelder.
Some neighbors watched in horror when they saw the condition that many of the people were in. The authorities involved in the raid said 16 women, nine juveniles and 60 men found in the home were in dire straits.
“When you go into a house like this and all the individuals are in their underwear, no one has shoes, no one has clothes. And that many people are in one particular residence of that size, yes it is pretty shocking,” said Greg Palmore, with ICE.
One by one they were taken outside and patted down. ICE detained enough people to fill an entire bus and several vans.
“It’s horrible. I feel for them completely, you have no idea what they were going through to get here or if they were dragged here,” said Diana Hofsetter, a neighbor.
Investigators said they are not sure how the people got there or where they came from.
Neighbors said the tenants recently moved into the neighborhood.
“One of the neighbors told me that they only moved in there three days ago. That house was for lease and the grass needed to mowed,” said Beverly Shay, another neighbor. “What I feel sorry for is these poor immigrants. I know they pay so much money, and I know a lot of them probably just want a better life to try to get over here. And they get used.
ICE agents also rescued a 16-year-old Nicaragua who had been held hostage at the house by coyotes demanding more money from her parents, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The girl’s mom had already paid the smugglers more than $6,000 to bring her daughter to the U.S. When they demanded more cash, she called police.
ICE agents set up a meeting with the smugglers near I-10 and Gessner Wednesday. The suspects were arrested at the scene and the girl was reunited with her family.