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ICE detains 5 people at Southeast Side pizzeria, Lightfoot says

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained the individuals at the Route 66 Pizza, 10180 S. Indianapolis Ave.

Route 66 Pizza, 10180 S. Indianapolis Ave., where ICE detained five people Monday
Mitch Dudek / Sun-Times

Five workers were detained Monday morning in a raid by immigration officials at a pizza place on the Southeast Side, according to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained the workers at Route 66 Pizza, 10180 S. Indianapolis Ave., according to Lightfoot and Ana Guajardo, executive director of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos: United Workers’ Center.

“We are actively monitoring the situation and engaging with community partners for more information on this incident, and to provide assistance to the affected families,” Lightfoot said on Twitter.

Four men and one woman, all employees, were detained between 10:30 and 11 a.m., Guajardo said. A member of her organization was inside the restaurant ordering food when she saw ICE agents enter and request the employees’ citizenship papers.

“They took more than half of their employees,” Guajardo said. Her group spent the next few hours contacting family members, organizing legal counsel and arranging for their children to be picked up from school, she said.

Guajardo said her organization was caught off guard by ICE targeting the pizzeria. She said ICE activity had slowed over the summer and had been mostly concentrated in the suburbs.

Just a few months ago, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos canvassed the neighborhood, including Route 66 Pizza, to inform residents of their rights when encountering immigration officials, Guajardo said.

On Monday night, ICE said the incident was a “targeted enforcement” but would not disclose details, citing operational security and privacy reasons.

“I would like to remind your viewers that ICE does not conduct raids or sweeps. The use of these terms evokes images of indiscriminate enforcement actions taken without probable cause,” ICE spokeswoman Nicole Alberico said in an email.

“Our ongoing goal within ICE is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our local elected officials and local law enforcement partners. We will continue our efforts to work with the city of Chicago in support of public safety,” she said.

Alina Flores, who was outside the restaurant Monday evening and is friends with one of the detained workers, was left heartsick by the raid.

“I don’t think it’s fair at all. They go to work to provide for their families, and then this,” said Flores, who lives in the neighborhood.

A sign on the pizzeria’s door read, “Closed until further notice.”

Some visitors who were disappointed to see the sign Monday night expressed surprise ICE targeted the shop — which lies in the shadow of the Chicago Skyway — because it’s frequented by police and firefighters, they said.

A rally in support of the detained workers was being planned for 11 a.m. Tuesday about four blocks away from the pizza shop, near East 105th Street and South Ewing Avenue, according to neighborhood residents and activists’ social media accounts.

“Chicago is and always will be a welcoming city, and we stand firmly with our immigrant residents,” Lightfoot said via Twitter. “Make sure your friends and neighbors know their rights.”

Lightfoot linked to a document listing people’s rights when encountering immigration agents.