December 12, 2006

ICE Raids Net Illegal Immigrants, Targets Identity Theft

There's that Mexican flag again. . .

The big story today (includes raw video, Tom Tancredo blasts Swift, family reactions), more from CBS4 (video/slideshow), 9NEWS (video/slideshow), The Denver Post (slideshow), and Rocky Mountain News (slideshow):
GREELEY, Colo. -- Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents raided six Swift & Co. plants Tuesday morning with civil search warrants, arresting hundreds of illegal immigrants working at the plants, including the plant in Greeley, federal officials confirmed.

At least 800 workers at the Greeley plant are identified as illegal immigrants; 300 of them will be deported within the week, said Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

Not all of those suspected to be illegal immigrants will be deported because federal authorities just don't have resources to go after them all at one time, Buck said.

"At this point, a civil search warrant allows us to search the premises to find any illegal aliens. The strong point here is that a lot of U.S. citizens and U.S. residents have been victimized ... by a large-scale identify theft scheme," said Barbara Gonzalez, an ICE public affairs officer.

Gonzalez said that other plants in the raid included beef plants in Grand Island, Neb., Cactus, Texas and Hyrum, Utah, and pork plants in Marshalltown, Iowa and Worthington, Minn. Operations at all six plants have been temporarily suspended.

ICE said the workers were being arrested on administrative immigration violations and in some cases, existing criminal arrest warrants stemming from a nearly yearlong investigation dubbed Operation Wagon Train.

ICE chief Julie L. Myers told reporters in Washington that agents had uncovered a scheme in which illegal immigrants and others had stolen or bought the identities and Social Security numbers of hundreds of U.S. citizens and lawful residents to get jobs with Greeley-based meat processor, Swift & Co.
The state's top politicians weighed in on the raids:
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., praised U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for their raid this morning on the Swift & Co. plant in Greeley.
. . .
Allard issued a release that stated, "I’m glad that ICE is enforcing our immigration laws in light of the illegal immigration crisis we face across the country. I am grateful that ICE agents are appropriately targeting illegal aliens whose prior record of criminal behavior may present a risk to the citizens of Colorado".
. . .
Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said that top Swift & Co. leaders should be held accountable if it turns out they knew about the hiring of illegal immigrants in Colorado and across the country.

The Greeley plant is one of the largest employers in Musgrave's district, and in the past she has taken up the company's causes, such as fighting a Japanese embargo on U.S. beef.

"I don't care who the employer is. I expect them to obey the law," Musgrave said in a telephone interview following the morning raids.

"No matter how high up it goes in Swift, (anyone) that is culpable in this needs to be gone-after to the fullest extent of the law," Musgrave said. "We need to know who knew what and when they knew it and what they did about it."
. . .
Rep. Tom Tancredo, an outspoken critic of U.S. immigration policies, also hailed ICE officials.

"I congratulate all law enforcement agencies involved in the successful raid," Tancredo, chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, said in a statement. "My hope at this point is that the U.S. government has the courage to prosecute the Swift & Company executives who may have been complicit in their hiring."
Sen. Ken Salazar called the raids a "clarion call" for reform, which in Democrat terms--and not too few Republican circles means amnesty:
Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Denver, said the case is a "clarion call" for a comprehensive immigration reform package, which bogged down in Congress this year and will need to be recreated from scratch in 2007.

"We need to have laws in place to take us from today’s chaos and lawlessness to law and order," Salazar said in a release. "That law and order system must include: increased border security, strict enforcement of immigration laws including a sound employer verification system, and a realistic method of dealing with the human and economic reality of millions of undocumented workers in America."

Salazar said the enforcement at Swift plants across the country "sends a strong signal" for Congress to take its own swift action.

"When Democrats take control in January, I hope today’s occurrences will motivate us to act," Salazar said.

But Musgrave said she strongly disagreed.

"How about we just enforce the laws that are on the books right now and control this immigration?" Musgrave said. "If people want to come into this country legally to work, I'm all for it. I do not think we should reward people for illegal behavior by giving them amnesty."
Michelle Malkin is skeptical, and perhaps rightly so. Only after the requisite deportations for those who are illegal immigrants, prosecution of identity thieves, penalties for the employer and sorting of those workers here legally and permitted to work have been completed can the raid be said to be something more than a cosmetic show of force.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said that top Swift & Co. leaders should be held accountable if it turns out they knew about the hiring of illegal immigrants in Colorado and across the country.

It is reasonable to ask: How could they not have known?

Wed Dec 13, 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Riccola said...

We need to boycott Swift Foods. Contact your grocer and ask not to carry Swift Brands. Swift made claims that it was unaware of this, but on Dec. 4 sought an injunction to stop the raids and claimed that 40% of its workforce would be affected. So, they knew that 40% of their workforce is illegal!
Email the co. execs in protest: and

Wed Dec 13, 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Swift claims they had no knowledge that illegals worked at their plants.
Yet, they go to court (prior to the raid) seeking an injunction.

If they were confident that their workers were legal - then they would have had nothing to fear from a raid.
Their request for an injunction is direct evidence of their complicity.

Wed Dec 13, 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I have heard from others that these workers made around 8 to 9$ per hour.

If some one offers to sell you a 60 inch HDTV set out of the back of a truck, for $100.00 you know that you are buying stolen goods.

If someone is willing to do a dirty dangerous job for the same money they could make at walmart, you know you are hiring an illegal.

As for all the usaual suspects who will cry about how bad all of this is, why are they not pointing out that 20 years ago, these jobs paid 20$ an hour with great benefits? Why do the same people who say walmart is bad, never seem to complain about swift, tyson foods, and their local lawn service?

I will not be too hard on swift, until all companies are forced to follow the law, everyone will feel that they must, 'cheat to compete'

By the Boca Condo King

Wed Dec 13, 12:11:00 PM  

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