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ICE Arrested Tens of Suspected Illegal Immigrants at a Tennessee Meat Processing Plant!

The federal officials, together with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a Tennessee meat processing plant, arresting around 97 undocumented people in the process. The civil rights activists hailed the said raid as the largest immigrant crackdown that happened at a single place during the last decade.

Immigration Crackdown

Tammy Spicer, ICE’s spokeswoman, announced the event in a statement last Friday. She stated that around 10 people were arrested on federal immigration charges, while one person was found guilty on state charges. Meanwhile, the other 86 immigrants were detained for entering the country illegally. She also stated that most of these illegal immigrants came from Mexico.

President Trump ordered the ICE agents to target employers hiring illegal immigrants.

The said raid on a Tennessee meat processing plant on Southeastern Provision in Bean Station was just one of the many arrests conducted by the agency for its ongoing Immigration crackdown. The agents already conducted raids on various 7-Eleven stores across the country. Last year, an immigration official ordered the agency to commence work-site inspections at least 4-5 times this year.

The ICE agents hope to stop the “job magnets” that seems to attract immigrants to enter the country illegally, and at the same time, it also targets to punish the employers who hire them. Meanwhile, the National Immigration Law Center and other immigrant organizations stated that the Tennessee raid has been the largest undocumented crackdown since George W. Bush. The former president also deployed surprise blitz during his era, with streets blocked by local and state authorities.

Co-executive Director of Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) Stephanie Teatro said how people panicked when the raid happened. Now, these undocumented immigrants are afraid to drive along the streets or leave their respective homes in fear of being arrested by the police.

Guilty of Federal Offense

The ICE agents executed first a federal criminal search warrant outside Knoxville in Northeast security. According to the federal affidavit, Nicholas R. Worsham, an IRS Special Agent claimed that the family-run plant is under a criminal investigation due to multiple violations like tax evasion, filing false tax returns, and hiring immigrants to become part of its labor workforce. Moreover, the said facility failed to report an astounding $8.4 million in wages. The company also needs to pay at least $2.5 million in payroll taxes for its undocumented workers.

The Federal agents in collaboration with Homeland Security started investigating the company months before they conducted the raid. The Citizens Bank employees noticed the Southeastern Provisions lump sum of withdrawals every week, which accumulated up to $25 million since 2008. Worsham discovered the said plant paid their undocumented workers in cash. Moreover, these immigrants were subject to harsh working conditions, including rendering long hours with no overtime pay, exposure to chemical hazards without protective eyewear or any safety gear.

Out of the 86 detained immigrants, the ICE agents released 32 of them but declined to state the reason why.

James Brantley acts as the Company’s President and General Manager while his employees include his wife Pamela, and their daughter Kelsey. The management went MIA since last Friday and did not return any messages left at the office nor their family home. Since then, the investigators have executed a search warrant to gather evidence on the case.

Call for Immigration Reform

In a way, these immigrants still contribute to the nation’s booming economy due to its wide and diverse workforce

The advocates for immigrants urge the Congress to pass the Immigration law reform. They call the Trump administration to stop this senseless, successive raids on undocumented communities as it can harm America more than it can do good. They reiterate that most of these immigrants fill in the jobs most Americans won’t do.

Instead of driving them away from the country, the government should help them in registering to become legal immigrants. What do you think about this latest move from the ICE? Do you think it is just to keep raiding and arresting these undocumented people?

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