JACKSON, Miss. – Following major raids by immigration officials on Aug. 7, about 300 of the 680 people detained were released, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
“Preliminarily, it appears that approximately 30 detained aliens were released yesterday on humanitarian grounds at the individual sites where they were initially encountered, and another 270 detained aliens were released after being processed by HSI at the National Guard base in Pearl and returned to the place where they were originally encountered,” the US Attorney’s office said.
During the raid, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeted seven poultry processing plants in Mississippi.
Peco Foods confirmed in a press release that three of its facilities in the state including Bay Springs, Canton and Sebastopol were being investigated by the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Koch Foods also released a statement regarding its assistance during the federal investigation. The company’s Morton, Mississippi, facility, which has more than 1,100 employees, was involved in the raid and did not operate during its first shift on Aug. 8.
“Koch is diligent about its compliance with state and federal employment eligibility laws including being an early adopter of the government’s own E-Verify program which screens new hires through the Social Security Administration, as well as the Department of Homeland Security to ensure they are compliant,” the company said in its statement.
Koch is still trying to determine how many employees were detained by federal authorities. It plans to continue to operate all shifts at the Morton facility.
According to a report published in the Clarion-Ledger, P H Foods plants in Morton, Carthage and Pelahatchie were also part of the federal investigation.