Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Immigration raid forces 200 layoffs at Lone Star Bakery (WOAI-TX)

Immigration raid forces 200 layoffs at Lone Star Bakery

Reported by: Melissa Garcia
Published: 2/21 7:50 pm

CHINA GROVE, Texas - A food manufacturing plant was forced to lay off around 200 workers after a "silent raid" found nearly half of its employees were undocumented. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a paper audit on the China Grove plant, Lone Star Bakery. Company officials say the illegal workers, some who had worked there for 15 years, had provided social security numbers that didn't match up with their names.

"It's really hard," commented Ibett Farfan, one of the undocumented workers who was laid off last week. "I came here to work."

Now, after nine years working at the plant, Farfan has lost her job and doesn't know how she'll continue to support her two young daughters. While Farfan is native to Mexico, both of her daughters were born in the United States.

"I felt like it was a real injustice," commented Kay Grimes, Corporate Attorney for Lone Star Bakery. "These people have been working in this country for a long time. They're hard workers, and good people."

Grimes says ICE required Lone Star Bakery to fire the illegal workers but informed the company that the workers wouldn't be deported.

"You can stay here in this country, but you just can't work," Grimes stammered. "What a message."

Some fear the expanding crackdown on illegal workers and the companies who hire them could pose a bigger impact on taxpayers.

"I think [the laid-off workers] will go on Welfare," commented Grimes. "People that have had children in the U.S. that are citizens, are entitled to welfare."

The silent raid makes Lone Star Bakery one of an estimated 1,000 companies across the United States that will be required to hand over employee records for inspection. News 4 WOAI got in touch with the ICE investigator handling this case. He declined comment.

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