ICE operation at Fremont Hormel plant raises concerns - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

ICE operation at Fremont Hormel plant raises concerns

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By: Jenn Schanz

Six arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at a Hormel plant in Fremont Wednesday has the ACLU of Nebraska suspicious.

That's because just a day earlier, Fremont voted to keep an ordinance from 2010 that prohibits landlords from renting to people who are in the country illegally.

The majority of citizens in Fremont are in favor of stronger enforcement on illegal immigration. 

"The timing is so terrible, that it does send a message to a community that's already receiving a very divisive, very discriminatory comments coming," says Amy Miller, the Legal Director for ACLU Nebraska. 

She says Fremont is setting a bad example for the state, by sending a message to the large Latino community there, that they don't belong.

Authorities say the six employees who were arrested from this Hormel plant were taken into custody on identity theft charges, not immigration violation.

But Miller says, it's often one in the same.

"Immigration violations often include identity theft because workers who do not have proper identification will use a fake name."

The names of the employees have not been released, as they've yet to be indicted by a grand jury.

"People who choose to work without appropriate documentation are breaking the law. And the Hormel plant and the ICE agents do need to work together, trying to make sure that's not happening."

But Miller says there's a way to do it, without alienating a community.

I reached out to ICE, they didn't get back to me. However, Hormel responded with a statement saying

"On Wednesday, six employees were arrested on criminal charges related to
identity theft. When federal officials discover examples of alleged crimes
such as these, the company will cooperate with their investigations."

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