Companies raided by ICE knowingly hired undocumented workers, warrant suggests

National News

Miami — Newly unsealed search warrants suggest the companies targeted in last week’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in Mississippi knowingly hired undocumented immigrants. The evidence against the five poultry companies includes instances of workers wearing “electronic monitoring ankle bracelets” like those federal authorities place on immigrants without work permits. Another worker who used an assumed name who was told to “quit and reapply.”

During the raids, 680 workers were detained. 

Employers can be fined up to nearly $20,000 per undocumented worker. It’s unclear if that has happened but CBS News has learned undocumented workers have started receiving fines, like one for nearly $500.

CBS News contributor Maria Elena Salinas sat down with Mike Hurst, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi, and asked why the employers who hired undocumented immigrants haven’t been prosecuted. 

“Well, in these type of investigations, part of it is executing these criminal search warrants,” Hurst said. 

“So you can guarantee that in the future, whether it takes weeks or months, that the employers who hired these particular workers will be prosecuted and will be in jail,” Salinas said.

“I can guarantee that we will investigate this case and if we get evidence beyond a reasonable doubt the employers and owners will be prosecuted,” Hurst said

Companies in Mississippi are required to use the E-Verify federal database to screen hires. But according to the affidavits, investigators found dozens of instances where that did not happen.

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