August 30th, 2007 06:57 EST
160 on immigration charges Simultaneous criminal search warrant executed
CINCINNATI - Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today executed criminal search warrants at Koch Foods in Fairfield, Ohio. ICE identified more than 180 Koch employees working at the Fairfield plant requiring further questioning and administratively arrested more than 160 as of 4PM for immigration violations. ICE agents simultaneously executed criminal search warrants at Koch's corporate office in Chicago.
The enforcement actions are part of a two-year, ongoing ICE investigation based on evidence that Koch Foods may have been knowingly hired illegal aliens at its poultry processing and packaging facility.
"Unlawful employment is one of the key magnets drawing illegal aliens across our borders," said Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE. "When illegal aliens use fraudulent documents or engage in identity theft, they not only exploit a vulnerability, they also cause real harm to U.S. citizens. We will pursue egregious violators by seeking criminal charges and continue to deploy tools such as the new social security no match guidelines to help businesses comply with the law."
Today's enforcement action was coordinated with ICE's federal, state and local counterparts including, the Southern District of Ohio's U.S. Attorney's Office; the USDA Office of the Inspector General; Health and Human Service's Department of Immigration Health Services; the Ohio Department of Public Safety; the Butler County Sheriff's Office; the Butler County District Attorney's Office; and Butler County Children's Services.
At the Fairfield plant, illegal aliens have been interviewed by ICE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Immigration Health Services (HHS/DIHS) to record any medical concerns, sole-caregiver issues or other humanitarian concerns. Based on this information, ICE makes decisions regarding whether or not an illegal alien should be released for humanitarian reasons. If released, the illegal alien is issued a notice to appear in front of an immigration judge at a later date.
Aliens who are being detained will be transported to an ICE processing facility located in the Cincinnati area and placed in removal proceedings. Aliens will be detained while awaiting removal proceedings.
A 24-hour toll-free detainee locator hotline is available exclusively for family members of those arrested in today's operation to field questions about detention status and the removal process. The hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 866-341-3858.
-- ICE --