Multiple Mississippi food processing plants raided by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency last week “willfully” hired hundreds of illegal aliens over Americans, federal prosecutors say.
Last week, ICE agents conducted the largest workplace raid in more than a decade across seven food processing plants in Mississippi, netting the arrests of 680 illegal aliens. That same day, though, ICE officials said they released about 300 of the illegal workers back into the U.S. on “humanitarian grounds.” More than 200 of the illegal workers had prior criminal records.
ICE officials and federal prosecutors have continued to say that the employers and owners at P H Food Inc., Koch Foods, A&B Inc., Peco Foods, and Pearl River Foods — the plants raided — are under criminal investigation for their involvement in hiring illegal aliens and thus they cannot comment further on specifics.
Federal affidavits released this week, though, provide insight into the illegal business operations occurring in plain sight for years at the various Mississippi plants where illegal aliens were regularly hired over Americans, some of which said they were never told to provide documents proving their legality.
Prosecutors said the five food processing plants “willfully and unlawfully” hired hundreds of illegal aliens. Koch Foods, specifically, is detailed as having a long record of hiring illegal aliens for more than a decade. Between September 2002 and April 2019, the affidavits state, ICE agents arrested 144 illegal workers at Koch Foods — not including the illegal workers who slipped through the cracks.
At the A & B Inc. plant, an illegal worker told federal officials that he had never been asked for documentation of his immigration status or work authorization, prosecutors said.
Many of the illegal workers would arrive at the food processing plants wearing ankle monitors, indicating that they had been released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) into the U.S. interior after crossing the southern border.
The affidavits allege that a woman in charge of the payroll for both P H Food Inc. and A & B Inc., as well as a worker who dealt with the payroll of two plants, were fully aware of the hundreds of illegal workers that were employed.
If convicted, the employers could be fined $3,000 and face up to six months in prison per illegal worker they hired.
As Breitbart News has reported, only 11 employers and no businesses have been federally prosecuted for hiring illegal aliens in the last year despite there being nearly eight million illegal alien workers holding American jobs at companies in the U.S.
The ICE raids at the five Mississippi plants have opened job opportunities and potential for wage hikes, as well as better working conditions, for Americans looking to fill the hundreds of now-open spots. Already, about 150 locals attended a job fair put on by Koch Foods.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.