clearn.png
Sunday September 20th, 2020 4:39AM

4 poultry plant execs indicted after 2019 immigration raid

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Four executives from two Mississippi poultry processing plants have been indicted on federal charges tied to one of the largest workplace immigration raids in the U.S. in the past decade.

U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matt Albence, announced the indictments as the documents were unsealed Thursday.

Their announcement happened a day before the one-year anniversary of the raids in which 680 people were arrested at seven poultry plants in central Mississippi.

Hurst and Albence also scolded journalists for reports that focused on the arrests separating children from immigrant parents who were sent to detention centers.

“If a parent puts their child in that position where they commit a criminal act that subjects them to being arrested and detained ... that responsibility falls on them,” Albence said.

None of the four people from the newly unsealed indictments were arrested on the day of the raids, said Hurst, who is the U.S. attorney for south Mississippi. He said they worked as managers, supervisors or human resources employees.

Hurst said journalists have failed to focus on the American victims of identity theft — people whose Social Security numbers have been falsely used by immigrants working in the U.S. without proper documentation.

“The simple fact of the matter is, illegal aliens steal jobs of American citizens,” Hurst said. “And illegal aliens depress the wages of American citizens.”

Amelia S. McGowan, an attorney who works on behalf of immigrants for the Mississippi Center for Justice, responded later: “Trotting out anti-immigrant accusations won’t hide that the only theft here is the executives’ profiteering off vulnerable workers in unsafe conditions and at inadequate wages."

Albence said last year's raids in Mississippi have brought 126 indictments, 117 criminal arrests and 17 convictions. Hurst said the investigation continues.

The chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said in a statement Thursday that he's glad the Trump administration, a year later, is bringing criminal charges against employers and plant managers.

“However, the Administration still has not answered for the cruel and unnecessary family separation inflicted on hundreds of Mississippi families and how it continues to poorly treat immigrants," Thompson said. "With hundreds left behind, it’s clear that working families, rather than the employers taking advantage of these families, are the ones that continue to suffer from the effects of this raid.”

Two people from the indictments unsealed Thursday — Salvador Delgado-Nieves and Iris Villalon — worked at A&B Inc., a plant in Pelahatchie.

Delgado-Nieves, 57, of Pelahatchie, was charged with harboring people who were in the U.S. illegally and assisting them with falsely presenting themselves as U.S. citizens. He was also charged with helping immigrants obtain false Social Security cards and of making false statements to law enforcement. Conviction would carry up to 74 years in prison and $2.5 million in fines, Hurst said.

Villalon, 44, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, was charged with harboring a person who was in the U.S. illegally and one count of making false statements about hiring immigrants without proper documentation. Conviction would carry up to 20 years in prison and $750,000 in fines, Hurst said.

The two others indicted — Carolyn Johnson and Aubrey “Bart” Willis — worked for Pearl River Foods LLC in Carthage.

A indictment says Johnson, 50, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was a human resources manager, and Willis, 39, of Flowery Branch, Georgia, was manager of the plant.

Johnson was charged with harboring people who were in the U.S. illegally, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Conviction on all charges would carry up to 84 years in prison and $2.25 million in fines, Hurst said.

Willis was charged with harboring people in the U.S. illegally. Conviction on all charges would carry a maximum of 50 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines, Hurst said.

An indictment says both Willis and Johnson harbored immigrants after the plant was raided.

Villalon, Johnson and Willis appeared before a magistrate Thursday. Each pleaded not guilty, and each was released. Each declined to comment outside the courtroom.

A hearing for Delgado-Nieves was also scheduled for Thursday but was delayed by more than an hour.

____

Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture, AP Business - Poultry & Egg
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Macron promises help, Beirut residents vent fury at leaders
Residents of Beirut have vented their fury at Lebanon’s leaders during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, blaming them for the deadly explosion that ravaged the capital
7:47PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Playing electoral defense, Trump claims Biden opposes God
President Donald Trump is engaging in a deeply personal attack on Joe Biden, even questioning without foundation the former vice president's faith in God
7:47PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Senegal president offers condolences to Denver fire victims
The president of Senegal has offered his condolences after five people who immigrated to Colorado from the West African country were killed in a house fire in suburban Denver
7:42PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Congress urges Postal Service to undo changes slowing mail
Lawmakers from both parties are calling on the U.S. Postal Service to immediately reverse operational changes that are causing delays in deliveries across the country just as big volume increases are expected for mail-in election voting
7:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump, McConnell huddle; virus aid talks at risk of collapse
Hopes are fading on Capitol Hill for reaching agreement this week on a coronavirus relief bill
6:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
US appeals court denies bid to resurrect Bundy standoff case
A U.S. appeals court refused to resurrect the criminal case against states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy and family members stemming from a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents in Nevada
6:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US senators take aim at German port over Russia pipeline
Three Republican senators have warned operators of a small German port that they face “crushing” sanctions for allegedly providing supplies to vessels involved in a Russian pipeline project
2:29PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: IMF director says Lebanon needs help, unity
The managing director of the International Monetary Fund is calling for national unity in Lebanon and says it’s time to overcome the impasse over necessary reforms that has so far scuttled talks with the lender of last resort
1:00PM ( 7 hours ago )
Lack of study and oversight raises concerns about tear gas
During the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have increasingly been using tear gas — traditionally used as a measure of last resort — offensively
11:41AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: UK says 50M masks unusable over safety concerns
The British government says it won’t be using 50 million face masks it bought during a scramble to secure protective equipment for medics at the height of the coronavirus outbreak because of safety concerns
6:23AM ( 13 hours ago )
Asia Today: Central Japan region put under virus emergency
A governor in central Japan announced a state of emergency due to rising virus cases and asked businesses and people to curb activities, especially during an upcoming holiday
5:46AM ( 14 hours ago )
The Latest: Africa cases near 1M, over half in South Africa
As Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases near 1 million, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “we cannot at all exercise fatigue” in the pandemic response
5:34AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
N. Korea's Kim visits chicken farm, calls for improvements
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has inspected a new chicken farm being built in a county south of capital Pyongyang and called for improvements to what he described as an outdated poultry industry
2:25AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Outbreak at Iowa pork plant was larger than state reported
One of the first coronavirus outbreaks at an Iowa meatpacking plant was more severe than previously known, with over twice as many workers becoming infected than the Iowa Department of Public Health publicly confirmed
11:43AM ( 2 weeks ago )
With primary win, Gideon reaps $3.7M more for Collins fight
Democratic Senate candidate Sara Gideon is reaping a crowdsourced windfall of $3.7 million thanks to her primary victory
4:48PM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Business - Poultry & Egg
Macron promises help, Beirut residents vent fury at leaders
Residents of Beirut have vented their fury at Lebanon’s leaders during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron, blaming them for the deadly explosion that ravaged the capital
7:47PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Playing electoral defense, Trump claims Biden opposes God
President Donald Trump is engaging in a deeply personal attack on Joe Biden, even questioning without foundation the former vice president's faith in God
7:47PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Senegal president offers condolences to Denver fire victims
The president of Senegal has offered his condolences after five people who immigrated to Colorado from the West African country were killed in a house fire in suburban Denver
7:42PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Ohtani homers, Bundy brilliant as Angels top Mariners 6-1
Shohei Ohtani homered in his first plate appearance since being shut down as a pitcher, Dylan Bundy struck out 10 in the third complete game of his career and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1
7:32PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Fed's Main Street pandemic support program off to slow start
The Federal Reserve says its Main Street Lending Program designed to help small and medium-sized companies get through the pandemic has managed to make just eight loans in its first month of operations
7:19PM ( 46 minutes ago )