More Than 100 Suspected Illegal Workers Arrested In Missouri

AP, May 23, 2007

Federal immigration agents raided a poultry plant Tuesday morning and arrested more than 100 workers who are believed to be illegal immigrants.

Most of those arrested at the George’s processing plant in rural Butterfield were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, said Pete Baird, an agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations office in Kansas City.

The arrests were part of a probe into identity theft and false documents, including stolen Social Security numbers, allegedly used by illegal immigrants, Baird said.

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“These work site enforcement actions help reduce the job magnet that encourages aliens to enter the country illegally,” Baird said.

Several workers were released because they are the sole caregiver of a child, Baird said. They will be required to appear later for a court hearing, he said.

George’s is a regional poultry processing company based in northwest Arkansas. Several hundred people worked at the Butterfield plant in southwest Missouri, authorities said.

The plant manager’s office referred reporters to corporate headquarters in Rogers, Ark., for comment. A spokesman at George’s Inc. could not immediately be reached for comment.

ICE spokesman Tim Counts said no charges have been filed against George’s and declined to say whether the company knew it was hiring illegal aliens.

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