Lawsuit: Company Sought to Hire Illegal Immigrants

By Staff | February 28, 2011 | 4:47 PM EST

Jackson, Miss. (AP) - A company that pleaded guilty to conspiracy related to the nation's largest workplace raid on illegal immigrants has been accused in a lawsuit of withholding jobs from U.S. citizens.

Immigration agents detained about 600 illegal immigrants at Howard Industries' plant in Laurel, Miss., in 2008. The company pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy to violate immigration laws. It was fined $2.5 million.

A lawsuit filed Friday claims the company's hiring practices gave preferential treatment to illegal immigrants.

Howard Industries did not comment on the lawsuit.

The company denied knowing that illegal immigrants worked at the plant, blaming the situation on its former personnel director. He was the only company executive charged. His sentencing is Thursday.