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Published: Thursday, 7/24/2008

58 workers detained for immigration violations in northern Ohio

Federal authorities yesterday "administratively arrested" 58 Mexican citizens working at eight branches of a northern Ohio restaurant chain, including one in Oregon, for immigration violations.

The arrests at the Casa Fiesta restaurants were the result of an investigation in progress for more than a year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland Security said.

Greg Palmore, an immigration agency spokesman, said yesterday he could not provide a breakdown of how many people were arrested at each restaurant.

Besides its Oregon location, 1705 South Wheeling St., employees were arrested at Casa Fiesta restaurants in Fremont, Norwalk, Sandusky, Vermilion, Ashland, Oberlin, and Youngstown.

Fifty-four men and four women were detained. Three of the women were released on their own recognizance on "humanitarian grounds," but all will have to appear before federal immigration judges, who will determine whether they may legally remain in the United States, the immigration agency said.

The agency said it has established a telephone number, 216-535-0510, that families of those detained may call for information about their relatives' status.

No charges were filed yesterday against the restaurants, but Mr. Palmore said the investigation is continuing.

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