Mississippi factory holds job fair after ICE raids gut workforce

Koch Foods Inc. hosted a job fair on Monday after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raided two of its Mississippi facilities on Aug. 7 and took a large portion of its workers into custody, leaving it understaffed.

A steady stream of people showed up at the job fair, which only lasted a few hours. Koch Foods has not released how many people it was hoping to hire, but it did say two forms of valid identification were required to apply.

Friends, coworkers and family watch as U.S. immigration officials raid several Mississippi food processing plants, including this Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Koch's plants affected by this raid are located in Pelahatchie and Morton. Koch Foods is one of the largest poultry producers in America and employs an estimated 13,000 people.

Koch is just one of several chicken processing facilities to get raided last week by ICE agents. Nearly 700 workers were detained by ICE during those raids over possible immigration violations.

A man is taken into custody at a Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, Miss., on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

There was some criticism of the raids, mostly surrounding the separation of these workers from their families. ICE released a strongly worded statement on Sunday to try and dispel those separation rumors.

"Every child who had two parents arrested last week had at least one parent released within 24 hours due to humanitarian reasons," Bryan Cox, ICE spokesperson, said. "We also expedited the processing of adults who identified that they had a child in need of care ... we are the only law enforcement agency that does such things to persons arrested by a federal law enforcement agency."

"Every child who had two parents arrested last week had at least one parent released within 24 hours."

- ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox

More than 300 were released by dawn the day after the raid while the rest are still detained in three separate facilities awaiting bond hearings and deportation proceedings.

ICE said they are still investigating the circumstances, but so far, no one responsible for hiring these reported unauthorized workers has been charged.


Koch Foods released a statement saying it screens employees through E-Verify, which is a federal government database, but the company does use temporary workers who are screened through a third-party service.