In this file:
· ICE agents raid Mississippi food processing plants
· ICE Arrests Hundreds in Mississippi Raids Targeting Immigrant Workers
ICE agents raid Mississippi food processing plants
by Associated Press
via WHNT (AL) - August 7, 2019
MORTON, Miss. (AP) — U.S. immigration officials raided seven Mississippi chicken processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in the largest workplace sting in at least a decade.
About 600 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fanned out across the plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing.
In Morton, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of the capital of Jackson, workers filled three buses — two for men and one for women — at a Koch Foods Inc. plant.
Those arrested were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. About 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!” Later, two more buses arrived.
A tearful 13-year-old boy whose parents are from Guatemala waved goodbye to his mother, a Koch worker, as he stood beside his father. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.
Workers, including Domingo Candelaria, who could show they were in the country legally were allowed to leave the plant after agents searched the trunks of their vehicles.
“It was a sad situation inside,” Candelaria said.
Mississippi is the nation’s fifth-largest chicken producing state and the plants’ tough processing jobs have mainly been filled by Latino immigrants eager to take whatever work they can get. Chicken plants dominate the economies of Morton and other small towns east of Jackson.
Based in Park Ridge, Illinois, Koch is one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S, with operations in Mississippi and five other states. The company didn’t respond to telephone calls and emails seeking comment.
Matthew Albence, ICE’s acting director, told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday in Pearl, just down the road from the Koch plant, that the raids could be the largest-ever workplace operation in any single state.
The companies involved could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be scrutinized for tax, document and wage fraud, Albence said.
Bill Chandler, executive director of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, called the “terrible” raids “another effort to drive Latinos out of Mississippi,” and he blamed President Trump for fanning racism with his past incendiary comments about immigrants...
ICE Arrests Hundreds in Mississippi Raids Targeting Immigrant Workers
By Miriam Jordan, The New York Times
Aug. 7, 2019
Federal agents raided several companies across Mississippi on Wednesday, rounding up hundreds of immigrant workers in what federal officials said might be the largest worksite enforcement action ever in a single state.
In a coordinated sting, more than 600 agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement showed up at the sites with federal warrants that allowed them to search the premises. About 680 immigrants who were believed to be working without legal documentation were apprehended and taken away on buses.
Lindsay Williams, a spokesman for the agency, said the federal agents executed the search warrants in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
The operation was the culmination of a yearlong investigation, and it unfolded just hours before President Trump — who has made illegal immigration a trademark issue and who recently vowed to deport millions of undocumented immigrants — arrived in El Paso, a majority Latino city on the Mexico border where 22 people were killed over the weekend in an attack that federal authorities are investigating as an act of domestic terrorism.
The raids were by far the largest to occur since Mr. Trump took office, and the biggest since December 2006, when more than 1,200 people were swept up in a raid at several units of a meat processing company.
Three poultry plants that are owned and operated by Peco Foods in three towns, and a fourth run by Koch Foods, in Morton, Miss., were among the facilities raided on Wednesday.
Mayor William Truly of Canton told the local ABC affiliate that federal agents had identified workers who were in the country illegally and rounded them up, put them in buses and took them away.
Three buses took migrants who had been arrested at Koch Foods to a National Guard base.
“Those who were arrested are being processed and they are being given their due process,” Mr. Williams said.
One woman who said she was a lead worker at the Koch Foods plant told a local television station, WAPT, that ICE agents had come into the building and ordered employees to line up and walk outside.
“That’s all our workers — half of the plant!” she said of the detained workers. “I just know it’s messed up because we’ve got to think about the kids and everything. I mean, who’s going to get their kids?”
The woman, who was not identified, said multiple buses had already left the area with detained workers...