Lawmakers want consequences for company in Salem raided by ICE

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Local lawmakers want Fresh Mark held responsible for what led up to raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday.

Initially, over 100 workers were arrested by federal agents because their immigration status was in question. Sixty have been released, while others are still being held.

VIDEO: ICE raid at Salem meat processing plant

ICE said it released those men and women for humanitarian reasons, but about 80 people are still in custody.

Meanwhile, lawmakers at the local and state levels want to see something done about their employer, Fresh Mark.

Amid the turmoil of the last two days, responses have been the same from Republicans and Democrats in the Valley — hold the employer responsible.

“We need to make sure that we don’t have illegal, undocumented workers flooding the border but at the same time, we have to realize that there are a lot of people in this country taking advantage of these folks and deriving a benefit from their work,” State Sen. Joe Schiavoni said.

MORE: Salem church asks for understanding instead of judgment of immigrant families

“The companies are at fault, too, because they’re enticing them to come there. Anybody that needs work would go there to try to get a job, not that they’re right to do it if they’re here illegally,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Jim Hoppel.

Hoppel said there’s very little the county commissioners can do.

“We really have nothing that we can do about it. We don’t have the authority to tell them they can’t.”

Fresh Mark has said it’s involved in a program with ICE to ensure its workers are lawful. The program involves requiring ID verification and an I-9 form.

However, a former employee brought a lawsuit against Fresh Mark in 2001, saying management knew its employees were not here legally and that the documents for those workers were forged.

“You have to believe that Fresh Mark didn’t pay attention to whether or not they were undocumented when they hired them,” Schiavoni said.

He and other senators are shopping around ideas to find what they call a “reasonable solution” to this issue, but Schiavoni said that could take a while.

Fresh Mark is directing any further questions to Homeland Security.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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