Pilgrim’s Pride employees arrested and fired
Pilgrim’s Pride has fired hundreds of workers who were arrested after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials raided five of the company’s plants earlier this week.
“We have terminated all of the employees who were taken into custody and will terminate any employee who is found to have engaged in similar misconduct. We are investigating these allegations further,” said company spokesman Ray Atkinson.
Pilgrim’s Pride said it was using ICE Best Hiring Practices, including the E-Verify programme, to authenticate social security and alien numbers. The company also said it conducts internal and third-party audits of I-9 forms and hiring practices on an ongoing basis.
Meatingplace has reported that the company put the number of arrests at about 400 hourly non-management employees, representing about 4% of the employees at those plants.
ICE arrested “more than 280 foreign nationals” at the five plants located in Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas and West Virginia for suspected identity theft and other criminal violations in order to obtain their jobs.
ICE states that The Department of Justice anticipates that a substantial number of those detained will be federally prosecuted. If convicted, each defendant could receive up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.