Collins Calls on ICE, CBP to Investigate, Deport Korean Foreign Nationals Illegally Working at SK Battery Plant in Georgia

Aug 27, 2020
Press Release

COMMERCE, Ga. – Rep. Doug Collins wrote a second letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Matthew T. Albence and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan urging swift action on the investigation into SK Innovation (SK) after Collins received new information on the company’s ongoing effort to illegally employ foreign nationals at their facility in Georgia. Earlier this week, Collins learned that local officials discovered over 200 Korean foreign nationals were training for on-the-job welding at a non-operational chicken farm just five miles from the construction site at SK Innovation’s battery factory in early July.

"I find it hard, if not impossible, to believe it is a coincidence that there were over 200 Korean nationals engaged in a large-scale welding operation on a non-operational chicken farm a mere 5 miles from the construction project at the SK battery factory,” Collins wrote. “Instead, the sad truth appears to be much simpler: either SK or a contractor of theirs large enough to illegally import, employ, and house hundreds of foreign nationals from halfway across the globe has broken the law in an effort to replace American workers with Korean foreign nationals. It is further apparent that, instead of taking remedial steps after CBP’s enforcement action in May, those involved took steps to conceal their ongoing crimes."

As Collins notes in his letter, elected officials have encouraged SK to bring good paying jobs to hardworking Georgians. In fact, the state of Georgia gave SK over $300 million in tax breaks, grants, and land to encourage them to bring their battery factory to the state. Additionally, Collins joined a number of his colleagues in the Georgia delegation in requesting that the International Trade Commission consider the potential implications on Georgia’s workforce if it imposed import restrictions due to SK’s actions abroad. However, it appears the jobs SK once promised for hardworking Georgians are instead being given to Korean foreign nationals. 

"These illegal and immoral actions are, quite frankly, disgusting and a betrayal to Georgia taxpayers who have invested heavily in SK’s development in Jackson County,” Collins continued. "I implore ICE and CBP to use every resource in your power to investigate SK and their contractors to identify and deport this illegal workforce and hold responsible anyone involved. I also urge you to suspend visas for any SK employee traveling to Georgia from any part of the world until this matter is resolved." 

Click here to read Collins’ full letter.