Careers and Workforce

Report: Raided Workers Fired, Denied Pay

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Aug 19, 2019

One of the Mississippi companies raided earlier this month by federal immigration agents has reportedly fired up to 100 of workers and is withholding their paychecks.

The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger cited “unconfirmed reports” that employees of the PH Foods processing plant in Morton, a suburb of Jackson, were denied a chance to return to work even if they had been released after being detained in the raid. A local priest ministering to the families involved told the newspaper that more than 100 people at a rally this week said they or family members couldn’t return to work and couldn’t get their last paychecks. That included workers who had been released but couldn’t prove they were in the country legally.

A spokesperson for PH Foods had acknowledged the day after the raids that 70 to 80 employees had been detained. However, the company did not respond to recent requests by the Clarion-Ledger for comment.

In related news, the National Chicken Council sent a letter Aug. 12 to President Trump asking that chicken processors be allowed to use E-Verify Self Check to establish the bona fides of prospective employees.

E-Verify is a program administered by the Department of Homeland Security that compares information on an employment application against Social Security and other government records. E-Verify Self Check is an embellishment of E-Verify that requires individuals to verify their identities by answering demographic and financial questions based on information in the E-Verify database.

It is now illegal to require submission to Self Check as a condition of employment, but the Chicken Council’s letter asks Trump to change that, saying that E-Verify by itself is inadequate.