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ICE Raids MS Food Processing Plants, 680 Arrested – Largest Single-State Op In History

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the largest single-state op in history at Mississippi food processing plants yesterday, arresting 680 illegal immigrants. There were seven food processing plants that were targeted. ICE agents surrounded each plant and made workers prove their citizenship. If they couldn’t, their personal belongings were confiscated and their hands were zip-tied behind them. They were then transported for processing and deportation proceedings.

A federal prosecutor described it as “the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in our nation’s history.” Nearly 600 ICE agents descended on the plants in Bay Springs, Carthage, Canton, Morton, Pelahatchie, and Sebastapol, surrounding the perimeters to keep workers from fleeing.

The companies involved could be charged with knowingly hiring workers who are in the county illegally and will be scrutinized for tax, document and wage fraud.

“The execution of federal search warrants today was simply about enforcing the rule of law in our state and throughout our great country,” U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in a statement. ” I commend these federal agents, our state and local law enforcement partners, and our federal prosecutors for their professionalism and dedication to ensure that those who violate our laws are held accountable.”

The media is playing up the illegal aliens as victims here who are in tears and crying to be let go. They are using the children as weapons again as well. But they are breaking the law and it is long past time the rule of law was reimposed in all of this. These ICE agents are heroes for simply doing their jobs in this political climate.

From Fox News:

“In Morton, 40 miles east of Jackson, workers filled three buses — two for men and one for women — at a Koch Foods Inc. plant. Workers had their wrists tied with plastic bands and were told to deposit personal belongings in clear plastic bags. Agents collected the bags before they boarded buses. About 70 family, friends, and residents waved goodbye and shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!” Later, two more buses arrived.

“Workers who were confirmed to have legal status were allowed to leave the plant after having their trunks searched. Some employees tried to flee on foot but were captured in the parking lot.

“It was a sad situation inside,” said Domingo Candelaria, a legal resident and Koch worker who said authorities checked employees’ identification documents.

“All the unlawfully present foreign nationals arrested Wednesday are being interviewed by ICE staff to record any potential mitigating humanitarian situations,” ICE said in a statement. “Based on these interviews, and consideration of their criminality and prior immigration history, ICE is determining on a case-by-case basis based on the totality of the circumstances which individuals will be detained and which persons may be released from custody at present.”

“HSI’s [Homeland Security Investigations] worksite enforcement efforts are equally focused on aliens who unlawfully seek work in the U.S. as well as the employers who knowingly hire them,” HSI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge, Jere Miles said in a statement.

“A hangar at the Mississippi National Guard in Flowood, near Jackson, was set up with 2,000 meals to process employees for immigration violations on Wednesday. There were seven lines, one for each location that was hit.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” Chris Heck, resident agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit in Jackson, told The Associated Press inside the hangar. “This is a very large worksite operation.”

“Such large raids were common under President George W. Bush, most notably at a kosher meatpacking plant in tiny Postville, Iowa, in 2008. Nearly 400 workers, mostly Guatemalans, were swept up and jailed as a result of that operation. President Barack Obama avoided them, limiting his workplace immigration efforts to low-profile audits that were done outside of public view.

“Trump resumed workplace raids, but the months of preparation and hefty resources they require make them rare. Last year, the administration hit a landscaping company near Toledo, Ohio, and a meatpacking plant in eastern Tennessee. The former owner of the Tennessee plant was sentenced to 18 months in prison last month.

“Koch Foods, based in Park Ridge, Ill., is one of the largest poultry producers in the U.S. and employs about 13,000 people, with operations in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee. Forbes ranks it as the 135th largest privately held company in the U.S., with an estimated $3.2 billion in annual revenue. The Morton plant produces more than 700,000 tons of poultry feed a year, company officials said in February.

“Immigration agents also hit a Peco Foods Inc. plant in Canton, about 35 miles north of Jackson. The company, based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, says it is the eighth-largest poultry producer in the U.S. A company representative did not immediately respond to a telephone call or email seeking comment.”

According to federal officials, some of the hundreds of illegal aliens arrested on Wednesday have already been ordered deported by an immigration judge and have refused to self-deport. Those illegal aliens will be quickly deported. There are also more than a few criminals in the mix here.

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Mike Hurst told the media at a press conference:

“We are first and foremost a nation of laws and the Rule of Law is the bedrock, the very foundation, of our great country. I heard someone say that a country without borders is not a country at all and while I agree with that, I would also add that without law there is no order. Without the enforcement of law, there is no justice.”

“These are not victimless crimes,” an ICE official said. “Illegal workers create vulnerabilities in the marketplace … as well as stealing the identities of legal U.S. workers, citizens, and legal immigrants alike, who must suffer the long-lasting consequences of their stolen identities.”

These raids were planned months ago and everyone knew they were coming, or at least they should have. Hopefully, many more will follow this one. Trump is keeping his word on rounding illegal aliens up. It’s a matter of following the law and national security.

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