680 Undocumented Workers Arrested in Massive ICE Raid of Food Factories
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680 Undocumented Workers Arrested in Massive ICE Raid of Food Factories



Rogelio V. Solis / AP

Immigration agents raided numerous food processing plants across Mississippi and arrested at least 680 workers, in what is being called the biggest single-day raid in United States history.

According to officials, ICE agents raided seven plants in six different cities. A statement also noted that a vast majority of the workers arrested in the raid were of Latino descent.

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst of the Southern District of Mississippi, shamed the owners of the businesses for hiring undocumented workers.


Two people are taken into custody at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, Miss., Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (AP)

“While we are a nation of immigrants, more than that, first and foremost, we are a nation of laws. They have to come here legally or they shouldn’t come here at all. To those who use illegal aliens for competitive advantage or to make a quick buck, we have something to say to you: If we find that you have violated federal criminal law, we’re coming after you,” he said.

The raid was reportedly planned for a very long time, and a part of a larger investigation involving multiple agencies. Some employees attempted to escape on foot but were later apprehended by ICE agents.

Following the raids on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center both issued warnings about ICE, suggesting that people remain silent if ICE comes into contact with them, and to lock any doors and call an attorney if agents come to their door.


Workers are escorted to a bus for transportation to a processing center following a raid by U.S. immigration officials at a Koch Foods plant in Morton, Mississippi, on Aug. 7, 2019. Photo Credit: Rogelio V. Solis, AP

The raids were carried out by about 600 ICE agents, who were spread out throughout the different locations. Many of the Latinos who worked at the businesses were actually legal residents of the United States, and they were allowed to leave after having their vehicles searched.

The last raid of this size was in 2008, under the presidency of George W Bush, at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in 2008, where nearly 400 workers were arrested.

The largest businesses hit in the most recent raids were owned by Koch Foods, a company based out of Park Ridge, Ill., with locations across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Koch Foods is one of the largest poultry producers in the United States and employs roughly 13,000 people. It is one of the most lucrative businesses in the country. According to Forbes, the company ranks as the 135th largest privately held company in the US, with an estimated annual revenue of $3.2 billion.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.

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