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Immigration raid suspects to appear in court

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PHOENIX -

24 people suspected of being in the country illegally will appear in court Monday following an immigration raid earlier this year.

Back in February, they were arrested at Sportex Apparel near Priest and University in Tempe and accused of identity theft.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's office says a seven month investigation showed that 19 employees were using false identification to gain employment.

This was MCSO's 71st workplace raid.

"I'm very hopeful today that Bill Montgomery decides to drop the charges against these people.  Not just my uncle, but all 24 people who have been worked there for almost 18 years," said Natally Cruz, who is a part of the deferred action program and Puente Arizona.

When asked if her uncle has a criminal background, Cruz replied, "He has no criminal background whatsoever...actually, if he was never caught in this raid, he actually would have qualified for immigration reform."

Cruz says her uncle used his own information on the job's application.

"He used his whole information, his name, his birthday..used a made up social security number that doesn't belong to anybody..18 years ago."

Cruz says the group will hold a rally in support of the defendants outside of the courthouse and walk to Montgomery's office.

"We'll ask him to meet with the families so he can talk to the families to see how this is affecting them.  It may not be just affecting the wives or the husbands, but it's affecting the children and we want him to sit down with the children and the children to give him their testimonies on how they're suffering with this separation," she said.

The suspects will be offered a plea that would leave them with a felony charge that makes fighting their deportation cases nearly impossible.

Video: FOX 10's Syleste Rodriguez reports.

Related story: MCSO arrests 27 workers at Tempe apparel company

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