Results of a new survey say two-thirds of Mississippians think the owners ofchicken plants raided by federal immigration officers should face prosecution.
On the morning of Aug. 7, federal agents descended on seven plants in central Mississippi, rounding up 680 people suspected of being in the country illegally. Of those arrested, 300 were released within 27 hours. More since have been let out on bond, some equipped with ankle monitors. Though no longer behind bars, they face immigration court hearings. Some have been accused of federal felonies, mostly related to the use of fraudulent Social Security cards.
The federal government filed court documents alleging the companies were aware they employed illegal aliens.
Some managers knew workers wore ankle monitors to work as they waited on immigration hearings, documents say. One of the chicken companies was aware its workers used fraudulent Social Security numbers, a confidential informant told investigators. A human resources employee revealed an employee was hired on two occasions, under two different identities.
So far, no charges have been brought against managers or owners of the companies that were raided, even with allegations of the companies conspiring to keep immigrant wages low. A survey conducted by Millsaps College and Chism Strategies shows a wide swath of Mississippians — particularly Republicans — favor prosecuting the chicken plant owners. Pollsters contacted 606 people between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14, half via cell phone, half via landline.
According to the poll: Republicans were more likely than Democrats to agree that the owners of the chicken plants should be prosecuted, the survey said. More than 76 percent of voters who identified as strong Republicans favored prosecution, while less than 52 percent of strong Democrats felt the same. Men and women felt about the same, according to the survey. Non-Hispanic white people were the most likely to favor prosecution — about 75 percent. Respondents who identified as Hispanic or Latino were the least likely to agree that the owners of the chicken plants should also face prosecution, the survey found, at about 46 percent.
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Updated: Tue, Oct 15th 2019 @ 3:40pm EDT