A recent agreement between Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and the federal government highlights why employers must focus on their immigration compliance efforts or face dire consequences.
On Dec. 30, 2009, the federal government reached a non-prosecution agreement with Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, one of the country’s largest chicken producers, to resolve an investigation involving the hiring and employment of unauthorized workers. Under the terms of the agreement, Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to pay $4.5 million and adopt more stringent immigration compliance practices. As part of the government’s investigation, 25 unauthorized workers were arrested in December 2007 at plants in Texas, and approximately 338 more were arrested at plants in Texas, Florida, West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee in early 2008. See ICE press release, “Justice Department and ICE reach $4.5 million agreement with Pilgrim’s Pride,” Dec. 30, 2009.