Last Wednesday, per USAToday, hundreds of immigration officials descended on seven Mississippi plants owned by four companies — Peco Foods, Koch Foods, PH Food and Pearl River Foods. They are suspected of “willfully and unlawfully employing” undocumented workers, recently unsealed search warrants say.
Workers reported hearing the roar of helicopters and seeing agents round up mostly Latino workers for questioning. Many wept as they waved goodbye to their family and friends being carted away on buses for processing.
It was the largest immigration sting of its kind in more than a decade. A total of 680 people were arrested. Of those, about 300 were released the same day, officials said. Those who remain in detention are being held in a ICE facility in Louisiana.
Former Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey was not happy with the raid.
ICE RAIDS IN MISSISSIPPI UNDERSCORE THE IDIOCY OF US IMMIGRATION POLICY. We need sensible laws and enforce them. Today’s massive LE operation grabbed 680 WORKERS… needed by our economy. Law abiding, good people. NOT MS Gang members. Senseless policy.
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) August 9, 2019
Now, over 40 detained migrants in Mississippi are charged with being in the United States Illegally.
Pres. Trump on the widespread ICE raids, that left children without parents in some cases across Mississippi: “I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they’re getting out…and this serves as a very good deterrent.” https://t.co/CSyqul786N pic.twitter.com/2DHEykCfg5
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 9, 2019
But more than a week after the raids, there are no records of company officials charged with knowingly hiring undocumented workers. This is despite information in federal search warrant affidavits suggesting company officials knew their workers were undocumented.
Some managers knew workers wore ankle monitors to work as they waited on immigration hearings, the warrants say. One of the chicken companies was aware its workers used fraudulent Social Security numbers, a confidential informant told investigators. A human resources employee revealed an employee was hired on two occasions, under two different identities.
When a Guatemalan man encountered law enforcement in Texas, he admitted he had worked at one of the plants, Koch Foods, and reportedly said the plant knew about his immigration status and that there were “a lot of illegals working there.”
Authorities said since 2002 they have recorded about 350 encounters or arrests of undocumented immigrants around the country who acknowledged working at either Koch Foods or Peco Foods plants in Mississippi.
The initial wave of about 40 charges filed against workers this week includes an arrest warrant and a sworn affidavit by Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent Brent Druery. It accuses each person of either illegally reentering or failing to depart the U.S.
For example, an arrest warrant for Cesar Berduo-Perez said he had three prior encounters with immigration officials — including one in November 2011, near Morton, Mississippi, and another in 2013, in Scott County. When agents raided Pearl River Foods in Carthage last week, they once again found Perez, who is from Mexico.
Perez was deported to Mexico each time, the court documents say. ICE databases revealed Perez never received permission to apply for readmission. Federal law states someone illegally reentering the country can be fined or imprisoned up to two years, or both. They also can be deported.
The new criminal complaints filed against workers stem from the Aug. 7 raids of seven Mississippi food processing plants, when immigration officials arrested 680 people suspected of living and working in the country without permission. Officials called it the largest immigration operation of its kind in more than a decade, and the largest single-state raid ever.
The approximately 380 people still in custody were shipped to detention facilities in southwest Mississippi and Louisiana, authorities said.
This article was written by the staff of TheConservativeOpinion.com