FREMONT, NEB. – A March 9 “enforcement action” by immigration officials at the Fremont Beef plant resulted in 17 people being taken into custody for alleged administrative immigration violations, according to the Fremont Tribune. A spokesman with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency took action as part of an ongoing investigation of the plant, which is a subsidiary of S Foods, a meat company based in Japan.

According to Les Leech, Fremont’s president, his company was one of 1,000 companies randomly selected to be audited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“We have been told that during the audit, 18 names were found to be in the Federal Trade Commission database for identity theft,” Mr. Leech wrote to the Tribune. According to reports those people were implicated by the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft database and were questioned. Seventeen were taken into custody. Mr. Leech said the company is not allowed to have access to the F.T.C. database despite previous requests. Therefore, he said, the company has had to utilize the government’s E-Verify system to confirm the legal eligibility of all of its job applicants.

“We have been doing, and will continue to do, everything legally possible to ensure the work authorization of our workforce,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the system that we have access to just isn’t perfect.”