Workers flee Georgia poultry plant amid false rumors of ICE roundups, officials say

Hayley Fowler

Workers in Georgia were spooked Thursday by rumored ICE raids that echoed last week’s roundup in Mississippi, media outlets report.

After the workers reportedly abandoned their posts in anticipation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement never showed up.

“We are aware of rumors that have sparked public concern in our community,” Gainesville Police Department said in a Facebook post. “It is important to always be vigilant and rely on credible sources. Rumors of food processing plants and retailers are untrue.”

Police in Gainesville, Georgia — dubbed the “Poultry Capital of the World” — were tipped off by the media reportedly trespassing at the processing plant Gold Creek Foods around 11 a.m. Thursday, the Gainesville Times reported.

An ICE spokesman confirmed there was “no worksite enforcement action at chicken plants in Georgia today” and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said they had also not received requests for assistance, the newspaper reported.

According to News34 Atlanta, at least 200 people had walked out of plants in Gainesville by 11 a.m. Thursday. The news outlet reported the rumors started at 8 a.m.

The confusion occurred on the heels of a massive worksite enforcement action last week at agricultural processing plants in Mississippi, ICE’s website shows.

The agency reported detaining “approximately 680 removable aliens who were unlawfully working at the plants.”

Investigators now think some of those companies broke the law by knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants.