U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit executed a criminal search warrant at Fresh Mark in Salem, Ohio, on June 19, 2018, and federal document search warrants at three other Fresh Mark locations in northern Ohio. During the search warrant execution, authorities identified 146 Fresh Mark employees working at the Salem meat processor who were subject to arrest for immigration violations.
ICE said the enforcement action is part of a year-long, ongoing HSI investigation based on evidence that Fresh Mark may have knowingly hired undocumented workers at its meat processing and packaging facility, and that many of these workers are using fraudulent identification belonging to U.S. citizens.
The action was coordinated with HIS’s federal, state, and local counterparts, including the Northern District of Ohio’s U.S. Attorney’s Office; U.S. Border Patrol, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations; U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations; HSI Detroit and Chicago Special Response Teams; the Salem Police Department; and the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office.
ICE said that in the context of any enforcement action, “ICE utilizes prosecutorial discretion on cases involving humanitarian concerns, such as health or family considerations.” Accordingly, during the June 19 action, “several individuals were processed and released from custody the same day as a result of humanitarian considerations,” ICE said. Aliens who are being detained will be transported to a nearby processing facility and placed in removal proceedings. Aliens will be detained in facilities in Michigan and Ohio while awaiting removal proceedings.
A 24-hour toll-free detainee locator hotline is available for family members of those arrested in the operation to field questions about detention status and the removal process. The hotline operates in English and Spanish; the phone number is 1-888-351-4024.