Fiesta Mexico was closed Tuesday night amid rumors of a raid in Nicholasville by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. | Courtesy Lexington Herald-Leader

By Karla Ward and Morgan Eads | Lexington Herald-Leader

As rumors of an immigration raid swirled around Jessamine County on Tuesday, some members of the community expressed fear about leaving their homes and three Mexican restaurants were closed for the day.

Several city officials in Nicholasville acknowledged they’d heard talk of a raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or I.C.E., at a Mexican restaurant in town, but none had been contacted by federal authorities.

WKYT reported Tuesday night that Nicholasville police was able to confirm I.C.E. performed an operation earlier in the day.

Three Mexican restaurants in town, Fiesta Mexico, Los Dos Amigos and El Potrillo, were closed Tuesday night. The hours posted for restaurant indicated they would normally have been open.

Angela Esparza works at La Chiquita grocery a few doors down from Los Dos Amigos restaurant. She said the grocery, which her family operates, had seen a decline in foot traffic on Tuesday.

“A lot of Hispanics are scared to be out,” Esparza said.

She said some customers have called and asked her to deliver their purchases.

“I am making deliveries,” she said. “I’ll be more than happy to help. I have to help my community the best that I possibly can.”

“Hopefully, it’s today and everything will go back to normal,” Esparza said.

Multiple attempts to get confirmation or denial of the raids from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

Nicholasville police spokesman Sgt. Scott Harvey said local law enforcement had not been notified of any federal immigration raids in the area.

Nicholasville Mayor Pete Sutherland said he’d heard that two restaurants and a car wash were closed but he could not confirm those reports.

Earlier this year, I.C.E detained more than 100 people in raids in Kentucky and Indiana, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Last summer, 49 people were arrested by I.C.E. in one round of operations in Kentucky, with 12 detained in Lexington.


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