Workers at poultry plants in Georgia have stopped showing up to work. That’s after raids last week at plants in Mississippi resulted in the arrest of hundreds of immigrant workers.
Fear and anxiety spread among people in plants in Hall County, according to Jerry Gonzalez, head of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. He says hundreds of workers in Gainesville have not gone to work. He’s talked to people who are afraid of being deported.
“People don’t want to abandon their children, like what happened in Mississippi where family members were taken and children were left to fend for themselves,” he says.
Gonzalez questions why plant owners are not being penalized for employing undocumented workers.
The National Chicken Council, a lobbying group, said in a statement that “the chicken industry uses every tool in the tool box, including E-verify, to help ensure a legal workforce And we’ve been strong advocates before Congress for making those tools even stronger.”
E-verify allows employers to confirm someone’s eligibility to work in the U.S.
“Just because they use E-verify does not mean they are not using undocumented workers,” says Gonzalez. “And I think the poultry industry really needs to send a strong signal to President Trump to stop these types of mass raids.”
The National Chicken Council sent a letter to President Donald Trump about the raids. The Council said stronger measures are needed to prevent identity fraud.
“Unfortunately, the government does not provide employers with a reliable verification method to prevent identity fraud and document falsification and confirm with confidence that new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States,” part of the Council’s letter reads.
The group has not received a response yet from the President.
News reports show several of the chicken processing plants raided in Mississippi willfully employed unauthorized workers.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they have not conducted targeted operations at plants in Georgia.