You might remember this story about the Columbia Farms poultry plant in South Carolina that was convicted of not only hiring illegal aliens, but also of providing illegal aliens with false or forged identity documents. The plant owners, House of Raeford of Raeford, North Carolina, have not been charged with any crimes relating to the Columbia Farms plant, but they appear to have gotten the message that hiring illegal aliens is not only wrong, it's also illegal.
According to workers at a House of Raeford plant in Raeford, North Carolina, illegal workers have slowly been let go by the plant and have been replaced by unemployed Americans. Foreign (mostly illegal) labor once accounted for more than 80% of the labor at the poultry processing plant. Now, more than 70% of the employees are American.
Peter Anderson, a Charlotte attorney and candidate for U.S. Attorney in western North Carolina, said, "It's a smart decision for the company – even though they've been indicted – to do whatever they can … to comply with the law.... It sends the right message, that they've gotten the wake-up call."
Raeford Mayor John McNeill said he was unaware of the workforce changes, but welcomed them if it meant more jobs for Raeford citizens, "If that's happening, that's good.... With our unemployment numbers, we need local jobs."
Americans in Raeford are also welcoming the company's decision to follow the law. Lamar McCoy, a resident of Raeford, called the changes long overdue and said that several relatives and friends recently acquired jobs at the plant: "It's been good for the town, especially black minorities.... There are lots of poor black men with not many opportunities…. In a small town like Raeford, there are not many jobs."
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Updated: Fri, Aug 14th 2009 @ 12:10pm EDT