At Least 300 Workers Taken From Chicken Factories, Company Not Facing Any Charges
Dave Keating | April 17, 2008 at 02:01 amby
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At least 300 workers have been arrested in chicken factories in Texas.
Federal agents arrested hundreds of people in raids at Pilgrim's Pride chicken plants in five states, the latest crackdown on illegal immigrant labor at the nation's poultry producers.
In separate sweeps Wednesday, authorities also arrested dozens of workers at a doughnut factory in Houston and the operators of a chain of Mexican restaurants in upstate New York.
The arrests at Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the nation's largest chicken producer, included charges of identity theft, document fraud and immigration violations. The company worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents ahead of the raid, said Ray Atkinson, a company spokesman.
"We knew in advance and cooperated fully," Atkinson said.
Julie Myers, homeland security assistant secretary for ICE, confirmed the company is cooperating, though she said the raids grew out of an investigation that produced arrests last year at the company's plant in Mount Pleasant.