George's Processing, Inc., paid a $450,000 fine on Sept. 14 in connection with a raid that was conducted at the company's poultry processing facility in Butterfield that resulted in the arrest of 136 illegal aliens.
The administrative fine was part of a settlement agreement signed in federal court on Aug. 14 stemming from the worksite enforcement investigation conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) back in May of 2007.
During the raid, ICE officers arrested 136 illegal alien workers from Mexico and Guatemala. Of those workers, 28 were criminally prosecuted for various immigration violations. Two of the company's hiring personnel were convicted of harboring illegal aliens and inducing illegal aliens to remain in the U.S., and two others were found innocent of all charges.
"Corporations, like individuals, have an obligation to follow the law," said Matt J. Whitworth, acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. "This fine sends a strong message to the business community. Immigration laws will be upheld, and violators will be prosecuted."
According to Whitworth, payment of the fine by George's is not considered an admission of wrongdoing by the company.
The fine paid by George's will be used by ICE to promote future law enforcement programs and activities in the area of worksite enforcement.
George's was also directed in the court settlement to train its human resource managers employees on how to prevent the hiring of illegal aliens and to establish a compliance program to ensure that the company's hiring and employment practices are in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.
George's Processing, Inc., is headquartered in Springdale, Ark., and employs 4,000 workers at its three poultry processing facilities in Missouri, Arkansas and Virginia.
The case against George's was prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Milligan and investigated by ICE with assistance from the Social Security Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.