The operators of an Alabama staffing company have been charged with hiring illegal immigrants to do work for the Mar-Jac Poultry facility in Jasper, Alabama.
Crystal and Deivin Escelante operate The Grand Family Enterprise LLC, (GFE), and the couple has reportedly contracted with Mar-Jac since 2014 to provide workers for the plant in Jasper.
According to a report from ABC 33/40 News, the Escelantes were charged after an investigation that began in 2018 was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The investigation was initiated after a plant employee contacted the federal agency over concerns that one worker provided by GFE was using the same name and social security number as another worker at a Mar-Jac plant in Mississippi.
The investigation detailed how the Escelantes allegedy used vans to transport the undocumented workers from homes to the plant in Jasper. The drivers of the vans allegedly told agents their names and social security numbers were provided by GFE.
It has also been alleged that undocumented workers were living in homes owned by GFE in Jasper and Haleyville, where the Escelantes reside.
According to the report, Mar-Jac Poultry allegedly paid GFE and the Escelantes $14 million in payroll from January 2019 through fall 2020. Mar-Jac Poultry said in a written statement to the station that it had no knowledge of any potential illegal activity by GFE, and that the contractor was expected to use E-Verify to ensure all hires were legal.
The Escelantes were scheduled to appear in court on October 27.
Mar-Jac Poultry Inc. is headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia, and involves the Georgia operations of Mar-Jac Poultry, the 15th largest poultry producer in the United States. Mar-Jac Poultry LLC involves the Alabama and Mississippi operations and is headquartered in Jasper, Alabama, according to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database.
Together, the two entities processed 15.88 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2019.