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Hundreds Held in Another Big ICE Raid

Posted Aug 26, 2008 12:34 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In another signpost of stepped-up immigration enforcement, federal agents raided a Mississippi factory yesterday, detaining at least 350 workers who allegedly are in the country illegally.

"The raid follows a similar large-scale immigration operation at a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in May when nearly 400 workers were detained," reports the New York Times. "That raid was a significant escalation of the Bush administration’s enforcement practices because those detained were not simply deported, as in previous raids, but were imprisoned for months on criminal charges of using false documents."

It is not immediately clear what will happen to those detained in yesterday's raid by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents, at Howard Industries in Laurel, Miss.

About 50 of those held, such as pregnant women and nursing mothers, are expected to be released on humanitarian grounds and monitored electronically, reports the Hattiesburg American.

Of the other 300, about 10 are to be arraigned today in federal court. (A subsequent article in the American indicates that two members of this group were charged with aggravated identity theft.)

The newspaper says federal agents separated Latino workers from others, apparently interviewing only the former. An ICS spokesperson says that the raid resulted from a tip by a union member.

In a written statement, the company, which manufactures electrical transformers and medical supplies, among other products, says it has a policy of hiring only legal workers, the Times reports. It is one of the largest employers in the area.

Additional coverage:

Associated Press: "ICE raids Miss. plant seeking illegal workers"

ABAJournal.com: "Largest-Ever ICE Raid Nets 390 at Iowa Meatpacking Plant"

Hattiesburg American: "Residents lined up for jobs at Howard Industries"

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