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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Immigration Agents Raid Pilgrim's Pride Poultry Plants In Multiple States

As part of a six state crackdown, Immigration agents raided a Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia. The Arkansas action is to go after those providing fake identification for illegal immigrant workers.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), over 100 people are expected to be arrested on criminal charges related to identity theft and document fraud.

Pilgrim's Pride knew abut the raid and cooperated in full with the Immigration officials, after they uncovered the problem at the Arkansas plant and notified the authorities.

Ray Atkinson who is a spokesperson for Pilgrim's Pride said that they do use an electronic service to verify Social Security but the service cannot detect stolen numbers.

Julie Myers, an assistant secretary for ICE, told Associated press reporters, "This identity theft is a horrible problem that can ruin a person's good name."

Myers said people who'd had their identifications stolen in the case had experienced a variety of problems, including being mistakenly arrested, denied unemployment benefits and told they owed money to the IRS.

According to Independence County Sheriff, Keith Bowers, the warrant list present in the Arkansas raid has approximately 60 names on it.

In January 24 people were indicted as part of a probe into Pilgrim's Pride and their hiring practices, when investigators said they were involved in an identity theft ring to help get jobs for illegal immigrants at plants in Pittsburgh and Mount Pleasant.

This multi state crackdown not only involves Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants and arrest warrants are being served in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Georgia and a donut plant in Houston was raided as well, resulting in the arrest of almost 30 workers as suspected illegal immigrants.

This was the first ICE raid on an Arkansas poultry plant since July 27, 2005, when 119 people suspected of being illegal immigrants were arrested at a Petit Jean Inc. poultry plant in Arkadelphia.