ICE arrests two dairy workers in Washington County

Bill Glauber
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Two dairy workers were detained by immigration authorities at separate farms in Washington County Friday, Jan. 12, an immigrant rights group said.

Voces de la Frontera identified the men as Agustin Aguirre Villa and Firo Jesus Gamboa Hernandez and demanded their release. A third man who was not identified was also taken into custody.

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, discusses the arrests of two dairy workers during a news conference and protest outside of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field headquarters in Milwaukee.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  said the agency is not raiding dairy farms. She said officers were looking specifically for the individuals.

Two of the men are married and both have two United States-born children, according to Voces de la Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz. She led a news conference and protest outside the ICE field office in Milwaukee.

Neumann-Ortiz said Hernandez has been a farm worker for six years and worked at a farm in the Town of Farmington while Villa has lived in the United States for 12 years and has been a dairy manager for nine years. He worked at a farm in the Town of Wayne.

She said the group was notified of the arrests by the wives of the men.

"We suspect from preliminary information that these are due to traffic infractions, no serious charges," she said.

The third man was also arrested in Washington County near his home, ICE said.

"ICE officers target specific individuals based on investigative leads," an ICE statement said. "The three men were arrested based on recent contact with the criminal justice system, and they all have pending criminal charges.

"All three men were served with a notice to appear before a federal immigration judge in immigration court. They are in ICE custody pending disposition of their immigration cases," the statement said.