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More Arrests over Immigration Violations

by 5m Editor
15 August 2008, at 8:13am

US - Federal agents have arrested five additional House of Raeford Farms' employees at the company's poultry plant in Greenville, South Carolina.

The search for others will continue as part of their investigation into alleged immigration violations, reports Charlotte Observer.

On 13 August, three men were indicted on charges of using counterfeit IDs to gain employment, identify theft and making a false statement to a federal agency, according to federal records. They had been arrested in July.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested two further men last month on similar charges.

The plant's human resource manager was also arrested in July several felony counts charging that she instructed employees to use fraudulent employment eligibility forms.

In a series on workplace safety in the poultry industry in February, the Charlotte Observer reported that some House of Raeford managers knowingly employed undocumented workers, according to five current and former supervisors and human resource administrators. Former supervisors have said the plant prefers undocumented workers because they are less likely to question working conditions for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.

Since publication, eleven employees have been arrested on immigration violations. Eight of them are scheduled to be in federal court on 19 August for a pre-trial hearing.

The three charged this week are to be arraigned on 28 August. It is alleged that they unlawfully obtained fake Permanent Resident Cards and someone else's Social Security Number "with the intent to deceive and for the purpose of obtaining something of value" between October 2006 and August 2007, according to federal documents.

House of Raeford has said it does not knowingly hire undocumented workers and regularly asks outside counsel to audit company records and hiring practices. "We take all necessary efforts to comply with applicable law, including immigration laws," the company wrote in a recent statement.

With eight processing plants in the Southeast and about 6,000 employees, North Carolina-based House of Raeford is one of the nation's top chicken and turkey producers. In the early 1990s, when another company owned the Greenville plant, most workers were African Americans. Now, most are Latino.

In its series, the Charlotte Observer spoke with current and former workers from House of Raeford's plants in Raeford, Greenville and West Columbia, South Carolina. Of 52 Latinos who spoke to the Observer about their legal status, 42 said they were in the country illegally.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

5m Editor