ICE Raids Southeastern Provision Meatpacking Plant in Bean Station, TN; 97 Illegal Immigrants Arrested
THE ICE MAN COMETH … ICE ARRESTS 97 ILLEGALS AT MEAT PROCESSING PLANT IN TENNESSEE.
Federal ICE agents arrested 97 illegal immigrants at a meat processing company in rural Bean Station, Tennessee. The raid at Southeastern Provision was the largest workplace raid in a decade. Of the 97 arrested, 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. The feds began investigating Southeastern Provision months ago after Citizens Bank employees noticed that the meat packing company was withdrawing large sums of cash every week, more than $25 million since 2008. According to a federal affidavit, the family-run meat packing plant is under criminal investigation for allegedly evading taxes, filing false tax returns and hiring immigrants in the country illegally. It is 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. So much for mandatory E-verify. This is just another effort if removing the illegal work “magnets”.
Federal officials arrested 97 immigrants at a meat-processing plant in rural Tennessee on Thursday 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.
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. All of those arrested are suspected of being in the country illegally, she said. Immigration advocates said most were from Mexico.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.