Friday, December 15, 2006

Swift Meat Packing Plants

I haven't read a lot about these raids. This is from Tim Smith, who has been involved in questioning the detention center installation on the mudflats here.
My personal take is that generally people are using immigrant labor because they don't have to deal with unions, or labor law with these people. In short, it is about finding a population that they can abuse. You will note that none of the officers of the Swift Corporation have (to my knowledge) been charged with anything. You may also observe how blatantly racist the actions of the officers concerned in this article are (although the spotlight shown on them shows an interest from the observer). I think that the wrong questions have been fielded about this entire debate, concerning folks coming across the border with no papers.
Steve Nebel

PS - I think this could be a very good conversation, but definitely would call for someone with some more in depth knowledge of the subject matter than I have.

Here are observations of a couple of Minnesota immigration attorneys.
I pass this on because it is useful when raids hit our areas:

After the Swift raids yesterday, the local ICE office provided the
chapter here in Minnesota with a toll free hotline to call for family
members of people who may have been detained yesterday: 866-341-3858

I don't know how well this is working. But this could be used
nationally for this type of situation.

ICE Press releases claim this was a targeted enforcement operation
with spokesman Tim Counts claiming it was not a "raid." This is not
what we saw yesterday.

The raid started about 8:30 with ICE and state troopers limiting
access and exit from the plant. ICE met with senior management of
Swift who then started to pull people off the kill floor. They were
directed to the cafeteria where 50-70 ICE agents were at. People were
immediately asked if they were citizens, if they had papers. Some
people were handcuffed immediately. Witnesses state that white
workers were allowed to claim USC status and directed away

People of color who claimed to be USC had to prove it. We spoke to
one USC who was detained in plastic handcuffs for several hours;
witnesses have identified two other naturalized citizens who had the
same happen. We were told that one USC remains in custody. Numerous
LPRs, TPS, etc..., were detained for at least hours in plastic cuffs.
Some had their LPR card in their locker, others left it at home. One
woman said her purse had been stolen at work before, so she left her
card at home because it was difficult and expensive to replace. This
operation did not target individuals suspected of "identity theft" or
involvement in false document rings. It swept up every non-white
worker at Swift.

We spoke to one family where both parents of a 2,3, and 12 year old
were detained. Other primary caregivers were detained when children
had health issues. ICE denied entrance to the plant to one person
with Honduran TPS, whose EAD was expired, but whose automatic
extension made her EAD good until Jan. 2007. The show of force was
overwhelming. After initial interview in the cafeteria, people were
interviewed in room and processed. The room had 15-20 ICE agents in
it, 5 more flanking the exit door, and 50 more in line in the hallway
right outside the door. John Connelly, of Washington DC ICE, told us
that everyone was "free to go"if they requested --- didn't appear
that way to us. It was a very coercive environment. Once cuffed,
people were yelled at to sit down. If they complained about the ties
hurting, they were told to sit comfortably. We saw numerous people,
including LPRs, with red marks and contusions on their wrists hours
after they were released.

Lawyers got a number of people released who had children, children
with health issues etc.... 30 were processed and released with NTAs
at the plant itself. We still think 200-300 were detained, many taken
to Iowa.

Anyone doing these cases should think of a Motion to Suppress. We
will have many good statements to support an argument this was a
racially biased operation, violating 4th amendment rights, with lots
of unlawful detention and potential for confusion and untrustworthy
information during interrogation.

Bruce Nestor and Susana De Leon

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