Seven of the 54 undocumented workers arrested in immigration raids at McDonald's restaurants in northern Nevada were being deported to Mexico on Friday because of previous immigration violations, federal officials said.
Thirty of the 54 apprehended in Thursday's raids at 11 restaurants in Reno, Sparks and Fernley were released Friday for "humanitarian purposes" while they await an appearance in immigration court, said Richard Rocha, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Humanitarian purposes can include such things as a medical condition or a person in a position as the sole caregiver for children, he said.
Eight detainees remained in custody at the Washoe County Jail and nine were transferred to another undisclosed detention center, he said.
The agency issued final orders for removal of the seven detainees, Rocha said.
"That means they had been encountered by immigration before. They will be returned to their home country in Mexico," he said.
Rocha emphasized that no children have been left unattended as a result of the arrests.
"We coordinated closely with Washoe County Department of Social Services. Caregivers have been provided for any children of detainees," he said.
In most cases, the detainees provided names of family members to take care of their children, Rocha said.
"At this point, no children have been placed in custody of the county or the state," he said.
Rocha said on Thursday 56 people had been apprehended but revised that on Friday to 54.
"They are people suspected of being in the country illegally," he said.
The investigation began five months ago and was sparked by an identity theft complaint.
A local law enforcement agency then gave ICE information that illegal immigrants were working at specific McDonald's restaurants, he said.
Luther Mack, who owns the restaurants that were raided, insisted that his businesses require employees to provide documentation.
"As an employer, I do not knowingly hire or employ undocumented or unauthorized workers," Mack said in a statement.