A homeless shelter that has been under the microscope for about a year is now being investigated ICE Homeland Security Investigations.
Federal agents searched the Dame La Mano shelter near Segundo Barrio Tuesday morning, sifting through documents and taking boxes with them.
Thirty people, including 22 children, were bused from the shelter to the Salvation Army.
An ICE spokeswoman confirmed to ABC-7 that this is all part of an investigation into the shelter, but did not elaborate.
Monique, one of the women who was at Dame La Mano and was taken to the Salvation Army, spoke with ABC-7.
"The ICE agents told us that they are getting 30 days to get everything up to standard and if they don’t, they're going to go ahead and close it back down but I'm not going back there. I wouldn't go back there,” Monique said. "There was a lot of hazards. There was no hot water."
Monique was surprised to discover a room she said she didn't know about until agents searched the shelter.
"It made me very upset. Not only did we find food, but we found a whole shed full of clothing, toys, shoes, backpacks," Monique said.
Shelter officials said that was just a matter of properly storing materials to make room for families.
"Go to any other shelter and say 'do you have a problem at this shelter?' You're going to have half of the people, I mean they live in a shelter. I mean, it's not like a house. They're going to have issues," said David Arellano, the son of the shelter's owner, who helps run the shelter.
The ICE spokeswoman said it executed two search warrants at about 6 a.m. - one at Arellano's home and one at the shelter itself.
Arellano said they took his computer and his cell phone.
"They're just doing their investigation. I mean, it's fine. We don't have anything to hide," Arellano said.
He said allegations against the shelter - including human trafficking - are completely misleading and that he does not know why they are being investigated for that. Arellano said their name and the shelter will be vindicated at the end of the investigation.
A spokeswoman for the City said federal authorities invited the City's Code Compliance unit to be at the shelter during the search. City inspectors found some structural items inside the building that need fixing so the City gave the shelter 30 days to fix them and as long as they are fixing the items they can occupy the building.
"No arrests were made and the center reopened its doors this morning. City inspectors found some code violations, but the shelter was not closed. The center says violations were minimal and can be repaired within the 30-days time given by the city," read a news release by Dame La Mano on its Facebook page. Read the full statement by clicking on it under related content.
Salvation Army officials said none of the families returned to the Dame La Mano shelter on Tuesday.
Dame La Mano also said in its statement that "Dame La Mano's employees and supporters do not know why the center was raided by ICE but suspects that it involves criticism of City Representative Cortney Niland and City Manager Joyce Wilson."
In December, Wilson said during a City Council meeting that the homeless shelter was under investigation after allegations of fraud and potential misuse of funds.
A different shelter, also run by Arellano, was court-ordered to close in September 2011 because of possible hazardous living conditions, city officials said. Since then, allegations of fraud have surfaced.
Because of the on-going investigation, the City in December could not release previously approved federal grant money to Dame La Mano.
"We do have one open case that we're working with the district attorney's office at this point," Eric Shelton, an El Paso Police assidtant chief told City Council in December after the shelter's executive director told the city representatives the case had been dismissed.
ABC-7 is waiting for an update on that investigation.