Thursday, December 31, 2009

U.S. Government Reaches Non-Prosecution Deal with Company Alleged to Have Employed Unauthorized Aliens

Justice Department and ICE reach $4.5 million agreement with Pilgrim's Pride

"The federal government and Pilgrim's Pride Corporation have reached a non-prosecution agreement to resolve an investigation involving the hiring and employment of unauthorized aliens at some of the company's Texas plants...

Under the terms of the agreement, Pilgrim's Pride agrees to pay $4.5 million and adopt more stringent immigration compliance practices to ensure that its work force is composed of employees legally entitled to work in the United States. In return, the U. S. Attorney's Office agrees to conclude its immigration-related investigation of Pilgrim's Pride and any current or former employees.

In a factual statement accompanying the agreement, the parties acknowledge that at the beginning of the investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had reason to believe that a substantial number of unauthorized aliens were employed at several Pilgrim's Pride plants. As part of that investigation, twenty-five unauthorized aliens were arrested in the Eastern District of Texas in December 2007 and charged with misuse of a Social Security Account number. In early 2008, a number of worksite enforcement actions were conducted by ICE at five Pilgrim's Pride plants in Texas, Florida, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee, resulting in the apprehension of approximately 338 unauthorized aliens. Thirty-eight illegal aliens were convicted in the Eastern District of Texas for misuse of a Social Security Account number.

Throughout the investigation, Pilgrim's Pride cooperated with the U. S. Attorney's Office and law enforcement agencies. In addition, Pilgrim's Pride implemented various measures designed to ensure a legal work force. As a result of this agreement, Pilgrim's Pride will continue to strengthen its workplace compliance programs and adopt measures recommended by ICE to identify and avoid the employment of unauthorized aliens. In reaching this agreement, Pilgrim's Pride did not admit to any criminal or civil misconduct. "

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