One week has passed since ICE raided a Columbia Farms poultry plant in Greenville, S.C. and arrested 331 illegal aliens, but the agency’s investigations into illicit activity continue unabated. The focus of the ten-month investigation is now on finding out who allowed illegal aliens to be hired at the plant, the Charlotte Observer reports. This was the same game plan ICE ran in the wake of this year’s raids at the Shipley Do-Nut company in Texas and the Agriprocessors facility in Iowa - arrest illegal workers, then conduct interviews and review records to build criminal cases against employers.
The parent company, House of Raeford Farms, claims it did not knowingly hire illegal aliens. However, since 94 percent of the I-9 (employment eligibility) forms ICE reviewed appeared to contain fraudulent information, ICE must now check further into managerial culpability. The investigation has already resulted in criminal charges against nine company supervisors, four plant employees and one human resources manager.
The Observer quotes Jessica Vaughan, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Immigration Studies, as saying, “If the investigation is ongoing, (authorities) must think there's more there...That's an extremely high percentage (of fake IDs) that suggests the employer wasn't even trying to hire legal workers.”
An ICE news release after the raid quoted officials as saying "ICE targets employers because the promise of employment draws illegal workers across our borders. By holding employers accountable, we are diminishing the magnet and discouraging others from breaking the law."
The U.S. Labor Department also is investigating child labor law violations at the Greenville plant. Although the use of juvenile workers in meat-processing work is prohibited under Federal and State laws, federal authorities found that six illegal-alien juveniles were working at the plant. Investigations after the Agriprocessors raid resulted in the company's owner and four executives being charged with more than 9,300 child labor law violations.
Click here to read the Charlotte Observer article.
Updated: Wed, Jul 5th 2017 @ 2:19pm EDT