Latest ICE Aggressive Enforcement Targets Northern Ohio Meat Processing Plants

Jackson Lewis P.C.

On June 19, 2018, unannounced ICE raids resulted in the arrest of more than 140 workers at four meat processing plants in Ohio. ICE calls this its largest workplace raid in recent history.

According to Fresh Mark, it is a member of ICE’s voluntary IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) Program. Fresh Mark reportedly has been under investigation for a year.

The number of arrests made at the Fresh Mark locations tops the number made across the country at 7-Eleven locations in January 2018, the 97 arrests made in April 2018 at another meatpacking plant in Tennessee, and the 114 arrests made in early June at a flower and garden center, also in Ohio.

Search warrants for documents were executed at two of the Fresh Mark locations. Most of those arrested were sent to processing facilities to begin removal proceedings for entering the country illegally and for using fake identity documents.

According to the company, it was one of the first companies in Ohio to become a member of ICE’s voluntary IMAGE Program. As a member of the program, employers agree to:

  • Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Questionnaire/Application
  • Enroll in E-Verify within 60 days
  • Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility policy, including an annual internal I-9 audit
  • Submit to a Form I-9 inspection
  • Review and sign the official IMAGE partnership agreement with ICE

For IMAGE members, ICE and USCIS will provide education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection, and use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. Membership does not protect against enforcement actions.

Fresh Mark supplies bacon, ham, and hot dogs to businesses and sports complexes in Ohio. Their Sugardale Hot Dog gained fame at “Sugardale Dollar Dog” days at the Cleveland Indians baseball team’s Progressive Field.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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