In early August 2019, an immigration raid in Mississippi led to hundreds of arrested workers. According to an NPR report, the raid resulted in the arrests of about 680 immigrants whom authorities believe were working in the U.S. without legal authorization to do so. Homeland Security Investigations, a division of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, conducted the raids simultaneously at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi. Agents also seized company business records in the raids. Authorities took the arrested individuals to a nearby National Guard hangar to interview them about their immigration status and determine whether they already had deportation orders in place. Ultimately, authorities released more than 300 of the detained workers.
More than a week after the raids, USA Today reported that officials had filed charges against more than 40 immigrants in federal court. These charges accuse individuals of illegally reentering or failing to leave the U.S. However, despite uncovering evidence that suggested the companies employing the workers knew that they were employing undocumented workers, officials have not filed any charges against the companies in question. Companies who exhibit a pattern and practice of knowingly hiring individuals with no legal immigration status can face up to $3,000 in fines per person hired and up to six months in prison.
Investigators often rely on confidential informants who have heard admissions from human resources managers and other company officials that they knowingly hire immigrants with no legal right to work in the U.S. For instance, these companies reportedly have hired immigrants who have ankle monitors placed by Immigration & Customs Enforcement, signifying that they are involved in deportation proceedings. Many companies also failed to use the E-Verify system to scan employee information through federal databases. At one plant, an informant advised that nearly the entire staff of 240 workers was undocumented; following the arrests of some workers, company officials most of the remaining workers.
Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.