ICE targets Fresh Del Monte staffing service

by Keith Nunes
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PORTLAND, ORE. — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents issued warrants at three offices, two owned by American Resources Staffing, Inc., and one by Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. American Resources Staffing recruits and hires workers for Fresh Del Monte Produce.

More than 90% of American Staffing’s employees were using Social Security numbers that belonged to other individuals or were fictitious, according to ICE. As a result of the raid, three people were arrested for immigration, document fraud and identity theft offenses. The names of the charged were not released.

Fresh Del Monte Produce confirmed the ICE "visit" in a statement and noted the company has been advised that it is not a target of the investigation.

Beginning in January, ICE conducted an undercover operation at American Staffing Resources, Inc. and Del Monte, according to an affidavit filed by the agency. During the course of the operations, an informant openly discussed with managers at both Del Monte and American Staffing that he was not in the U.S. legally and did not have proper identification to work. An employee of American Staffing Resources provided him with a counterfeit Social Security card and later provided him with similar documentation for other employees.

Food processors have been a target of recent ICE enforcement actions. In April, a pork plant owned by Minneapolis-based Cargill was raided. In December, six processing facilities owned by Swift & Co. Greeley, Colo., were raided. In its latest financial filings, released last month, the company estimated the cost of hiring replacement workers and lower production volumes due to the actions to be $50 million. No charges were filed against the company.

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