Poultry processor fires illegal immigrants

Pilgrim's Pride, a Fortune 500 company processing 44 million birds a week, has recently confirmed that it has terminated employees at its plants in Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas. The number and the reasons have not been released.

Advocates for the workers, however, estimate that the company has already fired more than 100 people who can't produce valid Social Security numbers.
"Large layoffs is what I'm hearing," said Linda Morales, a Stephen F. Austin State University professor in Nacogdoches who assists migrant families. "It wasn't Pilgrim's that decided to do this. I think it was some kind of warning they got ... about hiring people who don't have documentation."
Experts say the firings come ahead of federal authorities about to embark on a major worksite crackdown.
It is feared that the Department of Homeland Security will soon finalise a regulation that "puts more teeth" in the employer sanction law. This could lead to fines of up to $10,000 per employee, against companies that knowingly hire illegal aliens.
"There are a lot of employees in Texas, some say 1.2 - 1.5 million, who are undocumented workers," said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business. "A lot of them could be out of the workforce over the next six to 12 months."
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