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Immigration Officials Unseal Indictments Related To Massive 2019 Raid

Federal officials on Thursday unsealed the indictments of four managers accused of using unauthorized laborers across several food processing plants in Mississippi, almost a year to the date after one of the largest workplace raids in U.S. history.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a joint statement accused the four managers of crimes including harboring undocumented immigrants, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

"This office has a successful history of prosecuting employers for violating our immigration laws, and today marks another step in ensuring that justice is fairly and impartially done, no matter the law-breaker," U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in a statement.

"Rest assured that we will continue to pursue criminal wrongdoers and enforce our criminal laws wherever the evidence may take us."

The Aug. 7, 2019, coordinated raids led to the arrests of 680 people, after several hundred ICE agents surrounded seven agriculture processing plants across Mississippi and prevented the mostly Latino workforce from escaping.

"The arrests made last year pursuant to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's execution of more than a dozen search warrants, have thus far yielded 126 indictments, 117 criminal arrests and 73 convictions. In total, more than 403 individuals falsified social security information in order to gain illegal employment in the United States," said acting ICE Deputy Director Matthew T. Albence.

The four named in the Thursday statement are: Salvador Delgado-Nieves of A&B Inc.; Iris Villalon of A&B, Inc.; and Carolyn Johnson and Aubrey "Bart" Willis, both of Pearl River Foods LLC.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.