May 13, 2008 / 9:47 PM / 12 years ago

Immigration arrests at Iowa meat plant total 390

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent in an undated photo. Immigration arrests at the Agriprocessors Inc meat plant in Postville, Iowa, totaled 390, making it the largest number of such arrests at a single U.S. location, an immigration official said on Tuesday. REUTERS/ICE/Handout

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Immigration arrests at the Agriprocessors Inc meat plant in Postville, Iowa, totaled 390, making it the largest number of such arrests at a single U.S. location, an immigration official said on Tuesday.

“Every one of the 390 were arrested for administrative immigration violations. They were arrested for being in the country illegally,” said Tim Counts, spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit, which led the raid on the plant on Monday.

Criminal charges may still be filed against some of the 390, said Counts.

Of those arrested 314 were men. Also 290 were Guatemalan, 93 Mexican, four Ukrainian, and three Israeli, said Counts.

“Our company takes the immigration laws seriously. We cooperated with the government in the enforcement action,” the company said in a statement.

Agriprocessors, which produces kosher meat, is one the largest employers in Iowa. The plant resumed operations on Tuesday after being closed on Monday.

The company did not disclose the number of employees at the plant, but media reports put it at 1,000 to 1,050.

Immigration agents have raided meat companies in the past. In December 2006 nearly 1,300 workers were arrested at Swift & Co meat plants in six states.

Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer; Editing by David Gregorio

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