CANTON, Miss. (WJTV)– We take a closer look at what led up to the ice raids in central Mississippi. The search warrants are now available to the public.
The documents detail a history of companies hiring undocumented workers at those seven raided locations last week.
Peco Foods is one of several companies where raids went down in Mississippi last Wednesday. Data shows from November 18, 2002-June 13, 2019 there were 222 encounters or arrests at Peco locations. The documents then outline dates in 2012, 2014, and 2017. Three Canton workers did not have legal documentation to be in the U.S. when they were processed. Peco I.D. cards were presented, but the photos didn’t match the names.
As of July 29, investigators knew 14 undocumented immigrants were working at the Canton plant. According to affidavits, some wore GPS ankle monitors after previous encounters with the U.S. border patrol, tracking them to Peco Foods. Documents show fraudulent identifications and social security numbers. On Wednesday, workers who didn’t claim U.S. citizenship were taken into custody.
“They were asking, ‘hey everybody up on the wall,'” said Tony Frazier, a Peco Foods worker. “They were all cooperating as best as they could.”
The affidavits state the intentional hiring of an undocumented worker is a violation of the law. A person or company who does this can be fined $3,000 for each unauthorized worker and go to prison for six months. Form I-9 is supposed to be completed by the employee, and it’s up to the employer to examine the form along with the submitted documents.
ICE hasn’t commented on any charges for the companies involved.
PECO Foods previously issued a statement saying they were cooperating with the investigation.
The company says it adheres to all local, state, and federal laws. It relies on the E-Verify program to complete the hiring process of all employees.
Click here to read the warrants.