Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers made their way to Ann Arbor, Michigan Sava’s Restaurant on Wednesday morning. They had a late breakfast at around 11:30 am, and then they went into the kitchen and apprehended three of the employees.
The owner of the restaurant, Sava Lelcaj, was not at the restaurant at the time but said that the ICE agents came looking for one person who was not on duty. So instead, they began questioning the kitchen workers, taking three of them into custody at ICE’s Detroit office.
Lalcaj said that her company, Savco Hospitality, goes through a vetting process to make sure potential employees have the right documentation to work in the United States. “We do the best we can to hire, to vet and screen and be compliant,” said Lelcaj. Those who were apprehended did have the proper documentation to work in the country; they just did not have the papers on hand when the agents appeared at the restaurant. The three employees were later released that afternoon, and ICE officials reported that they were working here legally. The owner is working with her team to send the proper documentation to the Detroit ICE office.
“It’s really sad,” Lelcaj said. “It scares the whole community. Today’s a great indication even if you have your documentation, and you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, you can still be at risk.” Luis Paez, who assists immigrants in the Detroit area, made his way to downtown Ann Arbor to help the employees and their families. Paez was born in Columbia but is now an American citizen. “I am appalled at the current situation in the United States,” Paez said. “I am trying to get information about what really happened and help as much as we can.”
Although some of the other kitchen staff at the restaurant left after the incident with ICE officials, the establishment was able to remain open. Lelcaj, herself, stepped into the kitchen giving help to her remaining staff. “It’s a very sad day here at Sava’s,” the owner said. “These things really shake people up. We have a lot of people who have family roots here.”
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Credit: Drudge Now