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23 suspected undocumented immigrants arrested in Hamburg

Twenty-three suspected undocumented immigrants were arrested Monday night in Hamburg, according to a Customs and Border Protection official.

The arrests resulted from "a random encounter by agents on a routine patrol in the area," a spokesman for the agency said

The arrests occurred near a 7-Eleven at Southwestern Boulevard and Sowles Road.

"The suspects have been transported to a holding facility where they will be processed," the spokesman said in an email. "The incident is currently under investigation by U.S. Border Patrol."

Law enforcement sources said none of the men arrested is  believed to be a serious criminal, and indicated all are likely to be charged administratively, not criminally, after being processed by Border Patrol authorities.

Unlike raids in the past, which resulted in undocumented immigrants charged with crimes in federal court, the men arrested in Hamburg are expected to have their cases handled by immigration authorities.

It was not clear where the men live, if they have families here, where they came from and if they face deportation.

Paul Brown, president of the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, said undocumented immigrants often get jobs working at larger construction sites in the Buffalo area.

"I have no idea where they find them, but they find them,"  Brown said of the companies looking for the workers.

He said he was not aware of what site the 23 suspected undocumented immigrants were working.

The investigation is continuing and sources said any charges, including those involving companies or people who employed them, would come later.

Hamburg police assisted with the  federal operation, said a police department spokesman.

News staff reporter Barbara O'Brien contributed to this report. 

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