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Immigration raid finds underage workers

Oct. 9, 2008 at 10:26 PM

GREENVILLE, S.C., Oct. 9 (UPI) -- An immigration raid on a South Carolina poultry plant found at least six juveniles working on the processing floor, authorities said.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement said five of the workers were 16 and one was 15, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported. South Carolina law bans anyone under 18 from working in hazardous jobs, including meat and poultry processing, and the plant could be fined for employing them.

More than 300 people suspected of being in the United States illegally were detained after the raid Tuesday at the House of Raeford Farms plant in Greenville.

Maria Domingo, 21, told the newspaper she held her first poultry plant job in Greenville when she was 16. Domingo, a native of Guatemala, was released from detention to care for her child but faces deportation to Guatemala.

She said young people working in the plants do the same jobs as the older employees.

"They cut wings. They cut muscles," she said. "The young people worked with knives just like everyone else."

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