Federal officials say evidence from electronic monitoring bracelets shows that people who already had been arrested for immigration violations and weren’t allowed to work in the United States were working at all seven chicken processing plants that were raided Wednesday in Mississippi.
Documents unsealed Thursday in federal court also suggest allege six of seven the plants were “willfully and unlawfully” employing people who lacked authorization to work in the United States.
The sworn statements supported the search warrants that led a judge to authorize Wednesday’s raids, and aren’t court charges.
They allege that managers at two processing plants owned by the same Chinese man appeared to be actively participating in fraud. They also show that supervisors at other plants at least turned a blind eye to evidence strongly suggesting job applicants were using fraudulent documents and stolen or made-up Social Security numbers.
The largest immigration raid in at least a decade is likely to ripple for years through six Mississippi small towns that host poultry plants.
A store owner who caters to Latino poultry plant workers fears he’ll have to close. A school superintendent is trying to rebuild trust with the Spanish-speaking community. And the CEO of a local bank says the effects are likely to touch every business in town.
People are beginning to think about those consequences after Wednesday’s raids, in which 680 people were initially detained.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox says ICE sent more than 300 of those people home Thursday, with notices to appear before immigration judges.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant tweeted that anyone in the country illegally has to “bear the responsibility of that federal violation.”
Associated Press Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, contributed to this report.
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