ICE Storms Chicken Plant, Arrests More than 160 Employees

More than 300 U.S. immigration agents raided the Koch Foods Inc. chicken plant in Fairfield, Ohio, and arrested more than 160 employees as part of a criminal operation against illegal immigrants, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said on Tuesday.

"As of 2:45 p.m. (EDT) more than 180 Koch employees have been identified for further questioning and more than 160 have been administratively arrested for immigration violations," ICE special agent in charge Brian Moskowitz told a news conference in Cincinnati. He added that employees faced a range of charges including identity theft, document fraud, social security fraud, forgery, and illegal reentry to the United States.

ICE said in a statement the raid was "part of a two-year, ongoing ICE investigation based on evidence that Koch Foods may have knowingly hired illegal aliens at its poultry processing and packaging facility." A simultaneous search warrant was executed at Koch's headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill. The company was being investigated for federal crimes including encouraging, inducing, or harboring illegal aliens.

At the Ohio plant, illegal aliens have been interviewed by ICE and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Immigration Health Services 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 are being detained while awaiting removal proceedings.

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