Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided a Greenville, S.C. pountry plant on Tuesday and arrested more than 300 suspected illegal workers.
The early-morning raid at the Columbia Farms poultry processing plant was the result of a 10-month investigation into the facility's hiring practices. Prior to the raid, ICE investigators looked at the paperwork for 825 workers and found that more than 775 contained false information.
South Carolina U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said, "We're here to enforce the laws of the United States against those who use identification documents to unlawfully obtain jobs as well as those employers who knowingly hire and harbor undocumented aliens.... That's what we're doing here."
In July, seven Columbia Farms workers were arrested for using fake or fraudulent Social Security numbers or alien registration documents. The individuals pleaded not guilty, but bail was denied after prosecutors proved they were in the country illegally. Twelve supervisors were arrested and indicted for knowingly hiring illegal aliens.
Witnesses to the raid say that the scene was chaotic. Nicole Freeman, a plant worker, said that some workers ran for the doors while screaming " policía! " and "ICE!"
Updated: Thu, Oct 9th 2008 @ 3:50pm EDT