Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Truth Behind the ICE Raid at Iowa Meat Packing Plant

On the surface, the News reports read like any other Immigration Raid. ICE officials crowed that it was the biggest raids in years. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Nearly 400 people were arrested Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a raid on a meat-packing plant in Iowa. The raid was apparently one of the biggest of its kind and came after months of planning, according to this release from Immigration and Customs enforcement. Of the 390 detainees, 290 were Guatemalans and 93 were Mexicans, as well as a handful of Israelis and Ukrainians, officials said …” But the story behind the story reveals a far more sordid affair involving chummy relations between the plant’s owners and Republican office-holders as well as claims of employee abuse, rampant fraud by the employer and easy treatment for the employer while the employees face the full hammer of the law.

Check out Dee’s report at Immigration Talk with a Mexican American. According to Dee’s research,the plant, Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville Iwoa, is the world's largest kosher meatpacking plant. Digging further you will find one of the most unscrupulous employers in the country. In 1987, Rabbi Aaron Rubashkin purchased an unused meat-rendering plant in Postville and turned it into a state-of-the-art facility for producing Glatt kosher meat. Today, AgriProcessors provides 60 percent of the kosher retail meat and 40 percent of the kosher poultry nationally, and most retail chains depend on it for supply. The company was also the sole American packing plant whose products are accepted in Israel. Rubashkin Family Members are Large Republican Campaign Contributors. As set out by Dee:

Because there is an ongoing Iowa and federal labor law violations investigation of Agriprocessors and the union fears Rubashkin will use the raid to intimidate workers and throw the next unionization vote.
Mark Lauritsen, International Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers, wrote a May 2 letter to ICE: ICE action could result in employees leaving the plant, interfering with a government investigation that would “ultimately uncover unscrupulous employer acts,” he said.

This harkens back to the days when farmers would exploit laborers and then call INS just before payday or when union activity was threatened. Clearly, ICE cares more about protecting the employers who hire undocumented workers than they do about the abuse of the workers by these unscrupulous employers. As well, nothing like the PR from a “historic ICE raid.” Propaganda.

Find Dee’s post at:

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