The aftermath of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid of Corso’s on Tuesday, June 5, continues to evolve. On Friday morning, Corso’s offered the following statement on its website pertaining to the ICE raid:
“On June 5, 2018, federal investigators executed a search warrant at Corso’s Flower and Garden Center locations in Sandusky and Castalia, OH. In the process of executing that warrant, the investigators arrested more than 100 Corso’s employees. Corso’s is fully complying with the government’s investigation.
Corso’s regrets the stress and pain Tuesday’s raid had on our employees and their families. Corso’s is particularly troubled by reports of alleged poor treatment of our employees during the arrest process, including an apparent lack of information provided by federal authorities to family members of those arrested. It is our hope that federal authorities will work diligently to ensure minimal disruption to families of our employees as they execute their orders.
Like most agricultural business enterprises in this country, Corso’s depends on employees who work on a seasonal basis. We have a long and proud history of hiring employees both on a full time and seasonal basis to deliver the high-quality products that Corso’s customers have come to expect. Those employees have helped Corso’s grow from a small family farming business serving just the local community into the business it is today, providing the highest-quality plants, products, and services across seven states.
Corso’s prides itself on being a good corporate citizen and has always made it a priority to operate its business with the utmost integrity, both to its employees and to the community. This means that Corso’s does right by the law, just as it does right by its employees and customers.
Corso’s therefore demands proper documentation from all those seeking employment at its facilities and also ensures that all employer taxes are properly paid.
Just as Corso’s has strived over the past 77 years to be honest and fair in its dealings with its employees, Corso’s expects its employees to be honest with it, as well. Corso’s strives to comply with U.S. employment laws and therefore asks its employees and prospective employees for honest and legitimate identification and documentation. If mistakes were made or if anyone used false, fraudulent, or otherwise disingenuous identification documents or other documents to secure employment at Corso’s, the company was not aware of those things.
Corso’s looks forward to the resolution of this unfortunate situation and in the interim will continue to focus efforts on serving customers as the investigation proceeds.”
AmericanHort Weighs In
AmericanHort has also issued a statement on its website that emphasizes the dire need to fix the nation’s immigration system.
“Foreign-born workers have long been essential to the economy in industries like agriculture and horticulture,” the statement notes. “Our elected leaders are making a grave mistake if they think our nation can simply enforce its way out of our immigration problem. All of us will pay the price if they try.” Read the full statement here.
AmericanHort President and CEO Ken Fisher also reminds the greenhouse industry of the resources AmericanHort has to offer.
“We strongly encourage members to review our Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Audit Guidance Document (available only to AmericanHort members; a log-in is required), which provides an overview of recent immigration enforcement history and provides general immigration compliance advice to help businesses deal with ICE requests,” Fisher says. “We can’t emphasize enough our commitment to helping our members with this challenge.”
While the organization cannot comment specifically on what might be next for Corso’s, Chris Schulte, AmericanHort’s labor and employment law counsel with CJ-Lake, LLC, in Washington, DC, says each case is unique, and ICE considers the specific facts applicable to each employer in assessing civil monetary penalties or recommending criminal prosecution.
Keep checking GreenhouseGrower.com for updates by going to GreenhouseGrower.com/tag/ice-raids/.