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ICE Detains Five Chicago Pizzeria Workers

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city stands firmly behind immigrants

The exterior of a pizzeria.
Route 66 Pizza
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Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Monday morning detained five workers at a Chicago-style pizzeria near the Indiana border. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the news public Monday afternoon via a series of tweets and wrote that the city “is and always will be a welcoming city, and we stand firmly with our immigrant residents,” adding that officials are “actively monitoring the situation.”

Agents arrived around 11 a.m. Monday at Route 66 Pizza, 10180 S. Indianapolis Avenue, on the city’s Southeast Side. Centro de Trabajadores Unidos: United Workers’s Center, an immigrant rights group, told the Tribune four men and a woman were detained. A rally is planned at 11 a.m. today near the pizzeria for the detainees, according to the Sun-Times.

An ICE spokesperson confirmed the raid to various media outlets. The spokesperson took issue with describing the action as a “raid” or “sweep” with a statement reading “these terms [evoke] images of indiscriminate enforcement actions taken without probable cause.” No further details were shared.

Workers from Centro de Trabajadores Unidos were scrambling on Monday to ensure detainees had proper legal representation. They were caught off guard as ICE activity in the Chicago area had dwindled toward summer’s end. Most of the enforcement was also focused in suburban areas.

Chicago’s restaurant industry was put on notice during the summer as rumors spread that ICE was stepping up its activities. President Donald Trump tweeted in July about planned sweeps during the summer to deport undocumented Mexican immigrants. Advocacy groups worried federal ICE agents would be indiscriminate and pick up anyone who happened to be at the raid site and separate families if needed.

The pizzeria, which specializes in Chicago-style stuffed pies, has been around for more than a decade. The Sun-Times reported that a sign was posted on the door reading “Closed until further notice.” The unofficial restaurant’s Facebook page featured an image with the recommended steps to take by workers if ICE arrives at their workplace. Lightfoot linked to a similar document on Twitter.

Route 66 Pizza

10180 S. Indianapolis Avenue, Chicago, IL Visit Website