Federal immigration agents have carried out their largest raid to date in the Trump administration's effort to crack down on the hiring of undocumented workers, arresting more than 145 people in raids at Ohio-based meatpacking plants.
The arrests came Tuesday at four plants owned by Fresh Market. The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations Division conducted the raids.
“Businesses who knowingly harbor and hire illegal aliens as a business model must be held accountable,” Steve Francis, the HSI special agent in charge of Michigan and Ohio, said in a statement announcing the arrests.
The raids drew quick condemnation from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents workers at the plants. “Tearing hard-working men and women apart from their children, families, and communities is wrong. … Today’s actions will only drive this nation further apart, while also spreading unmistakable pain among neighbors, friends, coworkers, and loved ones,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement.
In its release, DHS noted that Fresh Market is part of the ICE Mutual Agreement program in which DHS works with private companies to prevent the hiring of undocumented workers.
The raids are part of a nationwide crackdown by DHS on companies that employ undocumented workers. Over the last several months, ICE agents have arrested hundreds of workers, including 114 people at an Ohio gardening company earlier this month, and 21 people during raids at 98 7-Eleven stores across the country.
John Stanton is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New Orleans. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
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