Preliminary OK to Settlement Over Meat Plant Raid

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a settlement that would provide more than $1 million to workers at a meat processing plant in Tennessee that was the subject of an immigration raid in 2018.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and National Immigration Law Center said at the time the raid at the Southeastern Provision Plant in Bean Station, Tennessee, was the largest workplace raid in nearly a decade.

The plaintiffs, approximately 100 workers who were detained during the raid, alleged U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Internal Revenue Service officers illegally targeted them.

U.S. District Judge Travis R. McDonough of the Eastern District of Tennessee preliminarily approved the settlement and set a final approval hearing for Feb. 27.

The case, which alleged unlawful policing and racial profiling, was certified as a class action in August.

Class members would receive a total of $550,000 under the settlement. The United States would also be required to pay $475,000 to six individual plaintiffs to resolve claims including excessive force and unlawful arrest, as well as $150,000 in attorneys' fees and expenses.

"This settlement marks a historic moment for immigrant workers in America," said Meredith Stewart, senior supervising attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center's Immigrant Justice Project. "The Latinx workers took a stand against federal agents targeting them because of their ethnicity."