June 19 (UPI) — Federal immigration officials arrested more than 100 workers suspected of using stolen or false identification at an Ohio meat supplier Tuesday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s and Homeland Security agents executed a search warrant for the Fresh Mark meat processing plant in Salem to arrest employees for immigration violations.
Agents had been investigating Fresh Mark for more than a year and determined the company hired undocumented immigrants at its processing and packaging plants, many of whom used fake identities or identities of other U.S. citizens to gain employment, according to Homeland Security.
“Unlawful employment is one of the key magnets drawing illegal aliens across our borders,” Homeland Security special agent Steve Francis said. “Businesses who knowingly harbor and hire illegal aliens as a business model must be held accountable for their actions.”
All 100 employees arrested in the raid came from the Salem location, but search warrants were also executed for documents at two locations in Massillon and investigators also searched a fourth location in Canton.
Francis said most of the employees arrested at the Salem location were from Guatemala and will be held in facilities in Michigan and Ohio as they await removal proceedings.
ICE officials said the number arrested is likely to increase when the operation is completed and some arrested workers could face federal charges for identity theft and/or reentry after deportation.
Some employees may be released on humanitarian grounds, including health concerns or the well-being of their family members.
Earlier this month, ICE arrested 114 suspected undocumented immigrants at an Ohio gardening business.