Ag Today February 16, 2018

ICE targeted at least three more Valley farms with employee audits, nonprofit says

BY RORY APPLETON, The Fresno Bee

rappleton@fresnobee.com February 15, 2018 03:31 PM

Updated February 18, 2018 10:46 AM

Just as the agricultural world was convening in Tulare for the World Ag Expo this week, concern and fear continued to spread across central San Joaquin Valley farmers and thousands of farm workers after three more farms were hit by employee audits ordered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Pitman Family Farms, Poindexter Nut Company and Fresh Select LLC have each been notified by ICE that their employee records will soon be audited, Faith in the Valley lead organizer Thomas Weiler said. Faith in the Valley typically offers outreach services to low-income workers, undocumented immigrants, youth and other underserved groups; the organization is currently putting together a workshop for farmers seeking to protect their employees from ICE.

Pitman, a poultry farm in Sanger, employs about 5,000 workers, Weiler said. Poindexter grows and packages almonds, cashews, walnuts and pecans in Selma. Fresh Select packages and cold-stores citrus in Dinuba. Calls to each of the farms for comment were not immediately returned Thursday.

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