Trump Administration Goes After Tennessee Meatpacking Plant
April 08, 2018, 01:18 PM
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Meatpacking plants are notorious for flouting immigration law for their precious cheap labor.  But the owners of at least one such plant are getting  the comeuppance they so richly deserve.  Hope it’s not the last.

From the Washington Post:

Federal officials arrested 97 immigrants at a meat-processing plant in rural Tennessee on Thursday [April 5th] in what civil rights organizations said was the largest single workplace raid in a decade and a sign that the Trump administration is carrying out its plan to aggressively ramp up enforcement this year.

ICE raids meatpacking plant in Tennessee; 97 immigrants arrested

By Maria Sacchetti, Washington Post, April 6, 2018

Good plan, “ramp up enforcement”.

Ten people were arrested on federal immigration charges, one person was arrested on state charges and 86 immigrants were detained for being in the country illegally, Tammy Spicer, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement Friday [April 6th]. All of those arrested are suspected of being in the country illegally, she said. Immigration advocates said most were from Mexico.
Despite the fact that Central American illegal entries now  probably outnumber Mexican entries, there are still plenty of Mexican illegal aliens in the country.
The raid on Southeastern Provision in Bean Station, Tennessee, follows arrests at 7-Eleven stores and other workplaces nationwide. Last year, the nation's top immigration official said he had ordered agents to increase the number of work-site inspections and operations by "four or five times" this year, to turn off the job "magnets" that attract immigrants who are in the country illegally and punish employers who hire them.
Sounds like a good plan.

Apparently, this was a surprise.

The National Immigration Law Center and other immigrant advocates said the Tennessee raid was the largest since the George W. Bush administration and deployed many of the tactics of that era, with a surprise blitz of the factory and streets blocked by state and local authorities. ICE officials would not say where the raid ranked in terms of size.
Needless to say, some are not pleased with this.
"People are panicked," said Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, a statewide organization that came to the small town and set up intake centers at local churches where relatives could report their loved ones missing. "People are terrified to drive. People are terrified to leave their homes."
After years of saying illegals live in fear, now maybe they really are.   But if they weren’t illegal, they wouldn’t be in fear of this, would they?
Of the 86 immigrants arrested on civil immigration charges, ICE released 32 but did not explain why. The remaining 54 were being detained, but the agency did not provide their names or say where they were being held.   The immigration arrests came as authorities executed a federal criminal search warrant at the cattle-slaughter facility, outside Knoxville in northeast Tennessee. ICE said it was a joint operation involving its Homeland Security Investigations arm, the Internal Revenue Service and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Note that Homeland Security, the IRS and the Tennessee Highway Patrol were working together.
In a federal affidavit, IRS Special Agent Nicholas Worsham said the family-run plant is under criminal investigation for allegedly evading taxes, filing false tax returns and hiring immigrants in the country illegally.  He alleged the facility failed to report $8.4 million in wages and to pay at least $2.5 million in payroll taxes for dozens of undocumented workers.
Yes, by all means go over the cheap labor profiteers.
Federal agents began investigating the company months ago after Citizens Bank employees noticed that Southeastern Provision was withdrawing large sums of cash every week - more than $25 million since 2008.   Worsham said the plant hired undocumented workers who were paid in cash and subject to harsh conditions, including long hours without overtime and exposure to bleach and other chemicals without protective eyewear.
Imagine that.  A company that doesn’t care about immigration law also doesn’t care about the safety of its illegal workers either!
Since Donald Trump entered the White House, immigration arrests have risen more than 40 percent and deportations from the interior of the United States have spiked 34 percent. In January, ICE fanned out to 7-Eleven stores in the District of Columbia and 17 states, including California, Maryland, Michigan and New York. Agents arrived at 98 7-Eleven stores to interview employees and deliver audit notifications, making 21 arrests. At the time, agency officials said it was the largest operation targeting an employer in President Trump's tenure.
Then there are the audits.
ICE conducted 1,360 employee audits last year and arrested more than 300 people for alleged criminal and civil immigration violations. Businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines, the agency said.
Go get ‘em!
Immigration hawks have called on the administration to step up work-site enforcement and to require all employers to use the federal E-Verify system, arguing that the Trump administration's focus on the border will not work if unauthorized immigrants continue to find jobs in the United States.
The border is important and the interior enforcement is important.  They are both important.
In 2017, Tennessee required nearly all employers screen new hires through E-Verify, a federal program that checks that they are authorized to work in the United States.
The article mentions the planned National Guard deployment, albeit in the context of increased border apprehensions rather than the recently-publicized caravan.
Last month, border apprehensions surged to 50,308 people, up 37 percent from the month before, prompting Trump to call for an emergency deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Regarding the raids, there are the whiners trotting out the same old, lame arguments.
Advocates for [illegal] immigrants called on Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration law, saying the raids upend long-standing communities and that immigrants are filling jobs that Americans will not do. Despite the surge this month, border apprehensions were at a 46-year low last year.
Some activists just don’t want the U.S. to enforce immigration law.
"This incident points out once again the urgent need for immigration reform - a need that has existed for decades and through the administrations of both political parties," said the Rev. Chet Artysiewicz, president of Glenmary Home Missioners, a Catholic society that serves Appalachia and the South.
I agree, we need immigration reform, to include ending chain migration and the abolition of automatic birthright citizenship.