Gonzalez to be sentenced for hiring illegal immigrants

HATTIESBURG — Sentencing has been scheduled for July 30 for a man who hired hundreds of illegal immigrants for one of Mississippi’s most successful private companies — the site of the nation’s biggest workplace raid.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained about 600 illegal immigrants at Howard Industries’ electrical transformer plant in Laurel in Aug. 2008.

Former human resources manager Jose Humberto Gonzalez pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy. His sentencing was postponed in March.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett signed an order this week setting the date in federal court in Hattiesburg.

Several illegal workers were convicted of identity theft. Hundreds were deported. Gonzalez — the only company official charged — admitted hiring workers regardless of their lawful status.

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