Exclusive: Corso's ICE Raid Mom Speaks Out

NORWALK, OH - She is one of the 114 people working at Corso’s Flower & Garden Center who were arrested in a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement or ICE raid on June 5, 2018.

"I saw officers from ICE and Border Patrol. Some were wearing Army fatigues. Their faces were covered and they had guns," she said in Spanish.

WTOL 11 promised to not reveal her identity because she fears retaliation while she waits for a decision on her immigration status.

She described the 12 hours while she was detained as the hardest of her life because she did not know if she would ever see her five U.S. citizen children again.

"I have faith in God. He's the only one who can help us find the best solution for my children,” she said in Spanish.

Unlike dozens of other arrested Corso's workers, she's one of the lucky few to be released and reunited with their families.

When WTOL 11's Viviana Hurtado told her critics blamed her for breaking the law to enter the country illegally, she said she understands the criticism. But she pleads for compassion.

"In Mexico there's a lot of violence and no work. In America, we don't starve and I can work to provide a home, food, and clothing for my children," she said.

She said she loves America and her fight is not for her, but for a better life for her citizen children.

"I want my kids to study and become professionals, to be somebody. I don't want them to end up like  me: a nobody working long hours for little pay,” she said.

She currently wears an electronic monitoring device while her immigration case is decided by a judge.

Exclusive: Teenage Corso's Employee Speaks on ICE Raid, Father's Detention

WILLARD, OH - Jimmy Rodríguez graduated on June 3 and two days later he drove to his summer job at Corso's Flower and Garden Center with his father, a fellow employee.

On the morning of June 5, federal agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided two of this business' locations in Sandusky and Castalia, arresting 114 undocumented workers, including the Willard High School graduate and his dad. 

"As soon as we came outside those doors, a white SUV Silverado turns on the gravel and an ICE officer comes out with an AR and says, 'Get on the ground,'" Rodríguez recalled.

The 17-year-old arrived in the U.S. at 18 months and is protected under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

He described the chaos and confusion behind pictures he snapped and shared exclusively with Toledo's News Leader.

The photographs show officers in military fatigues, K-9 dogs, and Rodriguez said he remembers screams from some of the agents.

He said the detained women and men were scared because they did not know what was going to happen next or if they would see their families again.

"They were tearing up too. They said, 'Please tell my wife, my kids, my family that I'm OK. Tell them what happened. Tell the story. They need to know how we're being treated,'" said Jimmy.

The first in his family to be college bound, Rodríguez said he dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer and said he earned scholarships to attend community college before university.

In the days since his graduation and the ICE raid, his life changed. Those college plans are on hold while he fills the role of his father, working to provide food and a home for his mother and two elementary school-aged brothers.

What keeps him going are the directions from his father who, until then, had followed his own advice.

"Before they took him his last words were 'Stay calm and keep working,'" Rodríguez said.

His father's immigration court date is July 19, when the family will learn if or when he will be deported.

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Gov. Kasich Talks Accomplishments, Future As Second Term Ends

COLUMBUS, OH (WTOL) - Governor John Kasich is known for liking to challenge conventional wisdom. In many ways, bucking the norm defines how he has governed Ohio. 

While a smaller government footprint is Republican principle, he touts expanding Medicaid for the neediest Ohioans, arguably one of his biggest accomplishments he credits to support from citizens he calls compassionate and pragmatic. 

“They don’t want the mentally ill to live, sleep under a bridge," Governor Kasich said. "They want to make sure you get some treatment."

One of the dark spots to happen during his administration was the opioid crisis. Although the state made some strides to combat the epidemic, he considers it “unfinished business.”

“I’m not saying we’re winning, I’m saying we’re gaining. We have a six-year low in deaths and a 20 percent drop in the number of doses of opioids," Gov. Kasich explained. "Part of the reason why I feel so strongly about Medicaid expansion is that it provided the resources in the communities for treatment and rehabilitation.”

Governor Kasich is also proud of the 485,000 jobs he says were created during his term. But he is not satisfied with this number and wants to pass the half a million jobs mark by the time he leaves on January 24, 2019.

He says this is an important part of his last days in office because he believes each job represents opportunity for a person, their family, and neighborhood.

The Governor is passionate about the role education plays in securing not just a good job, but creating a competitive workforce that is flexible to forthcoming changes like automation, robotics, and even artificial intelligence.

“As frustrated as I am about the workforce, I think we’re leading most of the states in the country," Govern Kasich said. "Is this going to be done in my term? No. We need to have more business people involved in setting the curriculum. We need to have lifelong education. We’re working on all of these issues. We have gains in all of them but it’s going to be a long road. I’m very anxious about this.”

According to the latest Morning Consult poll, 52 percent of surveyed Ohioans approve of the job Governor Kasich is doing.

But in his first year in 2011, that number was in the thirties. He says that is all a part of a trend in politics.

“The people on the street would say, what kind of poll is that? I haven’t warmed up to him. I don’t like him. You go up and down in politics," Kasich explained. "But you go up and down if you play for the Toledo Mud Hens. They were hitting 350 and they love you. Then you strike out five times in a row, with men on base and they say you’re a bum.”

As for what's next, many speculate Governor Kasich might try to challenge President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. But Kasich says he is not sure if he wants to run or not. However, he does plan to stay in politics.

“I have no idea what I’m going to do. But I do want to be a voice," Governor Kasich said. "I appreciate the fact that the people have given me a chance and the Lord’s given me a voice.”

VIDEO: Lima ELOG trucker protest part of nationwide call to action

Lima, Ohio - More than 50 truckers dropped off petitions to U.S. Representative Jim Jordan's district office in Lima, Ohio.

Part of a nationwide protest on Monday, with signs and American flags, they are sending a message to Washington that they're against the federal mandate called the electronic logging device ELD or e-log which tracks truckers' drive time.

They said it is bad for highway safety, your pocketbook and their bottom line.

"For me and my family, this is the way I make a living. We wait on chickens to lay eggs. How do you justify a time clock waiting on an animal to lay an egg?," said Ron Bowers of Bowers Trucking who transports a variety of goods, including chicken eggs.

The American Trucker Associations supports the ELD, claiming it makes the roads safer for truckers and drivers.

ATA spokesperson Sean McNally made a statement to WTOL 11 News.

“ELDs work by improving compliance with the current hours-of-service rules, as supported by federal data showing that use of an ELD reduced the truck crash rate by 11.7% and reduced hours-of-service violations by 50% when compared to users of paper logs."

Pamela Cox from Radebaugh Trucking Inc. refuted the ATA's findings.

"We as truck drivers, we're not criminals. We're out here. We want you to get your family. We want to get to our family," insists Ms. Cox.

Small business owner-operators make up the bulk of the American long and short distance freight trucking industry, transporting goods ranging from food to steel. They said this federal mandate will hurt consumers since the truckers will have to pass along increased costs.

The ELOG federal mandate is scheduled to go into effect on December 18th.

From Toledo to the Far East: Up and Downside of Chinese Innovation

Shenzhen, China (WTOL) - Shenzhen is known as the Silicon Valley of China. And the communist government is banking technology will be the key to China's global and economic development and dominance.

The Chinese government gives businesses incentives such as tax breaks for tech companies, encouraging them to be environmentally sustainable.

This focus and support allows for inventions to take off at offices, co-working spaces and business parks.

Entrepreneurs are developing drones controlled by a user's thoughts or a “smart” door lock that opens only with fingerprint biometric identification technology.

But there are significant problems in the development of these technologies including Chinese industrial spying. This results in the theft of intellectual property from American companies that critics say total billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Chinese companies are imitating concepts drawn up by successful U.S. tech companies. For example, Didi is a ride sharing company similar to Uber in the U.S. However unlike Uber, Didi allows users to check taxi and bus schedules as well as look up bike sharing locations.

Similar to the USSR in the latter half of the 20th century, communist China is America's foremost competitor economically in the 21st century. However, unlike the USSR, they are unapologetically following an American model to compete with the US.

From Toledo to the Far East: A Small Business Overcomes Big Challenges

Tokyo, Japan (WTOL) -The Daiya Seiki Company in Tokyo manufactures precision gauges for Nissan vehicles with micro detailing only workers’ hands can achieve.

Yet the small business faces big challenges, including more expensive raw materials and declining car sales.

The most significant hurdle has to do with the workforce.

Japan is struggling with a decline in the population due to workers aging and low fertility rates.

These factors have squeezed small businesses, resulting in 100,000 small companies closing since 2000.

To combat the business pressures, Daiya Seiki is focusing on its workforce of just 34 and experimenting with new ways to keep them.

Young workers, for example, receive constant and intensive training from older workers who act like mentors and coaches.

And the veterans, including Daiya Seiki’s most senior employee at 72, aren’t forced to retire at the mandatory retirement age of 60.

That’s because his experience is virtually priceless, developing over the years the ability to detect an error to one thousandth of a millimeter.

The precision achieved, not through a machine but workers’ hands, is critical for the gauges’ performance and safety.

The former Japanese Prime Minister YoshihikoNoda was so impressed, he likened a veteran’s hands to “god’s hands.”

Not divine, but forced by circumstances to survive in a competitive business—both for workers and companies.