December 14, 2006

Federal raid nets nearly 1,300 illegal immigrants at meat packing plants

A raid at 6 Swift meat packing plants in six states has netted over 1,300 illegal immigrants, many said to have been using stolen identities to gain employment.

The plants include one in Marshalltown, IA

Federal immigration agents raided Swift & Co. meatpacking plants in Iowa and five other states today in an investigation of an extensive identify theft scheme.

Federal officials said the agents arrested an undisclosed number of workers at the facilities.

Swift’s plant in Marshalltown employs about 2,200 workers.

Six buses had been brought in to take the detainees away, said Marcelina Ceniceros of Muscatine. She was standing at the gate of the Marshalltown plant while documents were checked inside the plant.

Three buses had been loaded and left the plant, she said.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying that "large numbers of illegal aliens" may have used the Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens and legal residents to get jobs at the Swift plants.

The statement said Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators have identified "hundreds of potential victims" of the scheme. The number of arrests at the Swift operations will be released Wednesday, officials said.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will release more information Wednesday, but a telephone number is available for family members trying to get information about loved ones today: 1-866-341-3858. Spanish-speaking government employees are available to help.

Carmen Montealegre of the Hispanic ministry at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Marshalltown pointed out that today is Our Lady of Guadalupe Day, a major festival for Mexican people.

A special mass with singing and dancing was scheduled to be held at the church at 6 p.m., Montealegre said.

She said she didn’t know if the celebration would be held because of the action at the plant.

“It’s really sad,” Montealegre said of the detained workers. “Nobody can help them now.”

Clearly, when Feds want to hit a huge trove of illegal immigrants, they look no further than the meat packing industry. This isn't new, as the industry has long relied on illegals for their workforces. Why people believe this won't be the case at the new Triumph plant in the Quad Cities is hard to understand.

Many more stories on the raids and the issues it raises here.


At 12/14/2006 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why think that this necessarily will be the case at the Triumph plant?

Illegal immigration is an issue that needs to be dealt with outside of never building another meat processing plant.


maybe we can abolish meat packing in the US and all will be well!?

At 12/14/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

OR maybe we can believe in the tooth fairy and that Triumph will not bring in immigrant labor.

If you're OK with that, then fine. But if you're anti-immigrant, then don't be a two-faced hypocrite on the hog plant.

The industry was built and relies on immigrant labor, legal and illegal alike.

If you want to be a pollyanna and believe it won't happen here, you're welcome to.

The reason it's important is that the supporters of this plant have relentlessly touted all these great, high paying jobs that the plant would bring in exchange for fouling our air and water and bringing in a foul, 24/7 endless line of semis full of hogs going into and meat coming out of the plant.

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS is the only thing the supporters have to say.

And if most or a large part of them are filled by illegal immigrants, that argument kind of falls apart, doesn't it?

No one can tell what will happen, but as with everything else, it's a good predictor to look at similar situations where they exist. In every single case, including the IBP/Tyson plant near Joslin, the fact remains that the workforce in this industry is one of the most dependent on illegal immigrants in the country.

That's why they raided meat packing plants. Because that's where the illegals are, and always have been.

At 12/14/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

What about the issues that were brought up by MolineDemocraticMaverick where anyone with darker skin was put in chains until they proved who they were. Guilty until proven innocent?

Are you overlooking the real story because of your hate for Triumph?

At 12/14/2006 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is TID anti immigrant?

At 12/14/2006 3:47 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Who are you addressing QCI? Now I "hate" the hog plant? Strong words which I don't think are justified.

And if you're addressing myself, I don't think reporting the story is overlooking the story. I've not seen any piece over at Dave Barretts fine blog.

I'm not making any judgement on the raids whatsoever. If anything, I think they were a bit overboard from what I've read.

I just don't think the supporters of the plant are pro-illegal immigration.

As I said in my comment, if you have no problem with illegal immigrants working and paying taxes and trying to make a life for themselves, then that's fine.

What I object to is people who constantly tout the jobs available here without acknowledging the fact that a large portion will likely end up being held by immigrants.

Rather, they suggest that these jobs will all be held by locals.

Just trying to "keep it real", is all. No need to start assigning motives and trying to guess what my feelings are towards the immigration issue.

At 12/14/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

No. Certainly not in all cases.

At 12/15/2006 6:26 PM, Anonymous saul said...

David Barret has put up several excellent posts on the crackdown. You should check them out here. He has really brought out the racism and hypocrisy involved in these events and in the anti-immigrant hysteria that the right wing is fomenting and relying on.

At 12/15/2006 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just goes to show that we have laws in effect to combat the illegal problems. I think it is about time that we started to enforce them. It is great that the illegals will be taken out and Americans will get the oppertunity to work these great high paying jobs.

Our system does work.

At 12/16/2006 12:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Great" "high-paying" jobs that you and most other people wouldn't do if they put a gun to your head, most likely.

At 12/16/2006 11:26 AM, Anonymous DonGreenwood said...

It is good to see American laws being enforced properly and with merit. Now greedy corporations will be forced to pay "our people" better wages and more benefits.

If you want to hire bright energetic American workers you have to pay them more cash than you do desne unedcuated illegals!

Rather than sing "the complaing song" all day, you and your buddies should go oput to Triumph and apply for work. Triumph needs good American workers, not people that don't live in this country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The law works and Illigals don't!

At 12/16/2006 11:33 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Who are you talking to?

I should go apply for work at Triumph? WHY???

Thanks anyway.

You sound like an angry knucklehead looking for someone to hate, and immigrants are a great target (can't fight back, etc.)

Couldn't you make the same point without letting your bigotry show?

You're screaming and frothing at .... what?

At 12/16/2006 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you are for Triumph?

What gives. Your mind seems incapable of following a locigal agument. Whenever, and everytime you open your mouth a hungry bunny dies from your stupidity.

Why do I always have to explain everythinhg and everytime, to you?


At 12/17/2006 2:33 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You couldn't explain snow to an eskimo. Please.

If you can't read, please don't write.

At 12/17/2006 11:19 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Greenpeace is gonna look into this. It seems the arrestees did better than the hogs. Last time something like this an Italian Whaling ship got blown up.

It's all a matter of perspective. The workers are involved but those Pigs were COMMITTED!

At 12/18/2006 12:29 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

UMR... thanks for reminding me of that great metaphor about ham and eggs about how the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.

At 12/18/2006 6:24 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I dunno what was with my earlier post. I was in a cranky mood I guess.

At 12/18/2006 8:11 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

QCI.... quite alright..even though I'm never in a cranky mood myself. (cough)

At 12/18/2006 10:35 PM, Blogger Tacky said...

We need to read how people reacted to the immigrants (mostly legal) from the "darker" southern areas of Italy, Germany, Sicily. The anti-immigrants used similar language. It is fear, class and race (color) that is at the basis of many of the objectors to "cheap" laborers. In recent years light skinned immigrants have come into the area ( some illegally) and ICE has not made headlines. In fact, if all the workers were Bosnian and Serbian and rented or bought houses in the neighborhood, there would not be such a hue and cry. Because no one would give them a second look.
In fact, there may be some in our neighborhood now and it does not cause us to panic that our property values will decrease or our children be contaminated by them in our schools and consequently our standard of education will go down.
Color matters.

At 12/19/2006 4:22 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

First of all,thanks for your comment.

Secondly, I certainly wouldn't argue with your point, and color certainly does play a real role in such matters. But that said, I'm not sure that light skinned immigrants would be welcomed any more than others, at least if it came to them taking a majority of jobs at the hog plant.

At least that's the way I look at it. I'm not as concerned about the immigrants having actually immigrated, but rather the fact that corporate interests are exploiting them for labor and that results in thousands of immigrants occupying jobs which at least pig plant boosters assure us will be held by locals.

Again, it's the hypocrisy of the hog plant kool aid drinking boosters who yammer about the high paying jobs for the area, then ignore the fact that most of the factory jobs will be held by immigrant labor.

They never acknowledge that because they know the public would clearly oppose the plant.

Now as to what reason people would object to the flood of immigrant labor, whether a concern over immigrants taking jobs from locals, or for more racist or bigotted reasons is impossible to say, but it would no doubt be a combination of motivations.

At any rate, that's the 10,000lb elephant in the room that Thodos and the boosters don't want anyone to talk about.

At 12/19/2006 7:19 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Regardless of your position on Triumph in EM... You have to wonder how the US Army Corps came up with only THREE acres of wetlands in that area! I am no expert, but it looks like more than that to me - the Rock River runs parallel to the area folks.

So I guess I wonder what the definition of "wetland" is and if it has been changed or weakened by the Bush administration or something.

At 12/19/2006 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There once was a day when labor unions were strong in meatpacking plants, when meat packing workers made a living wage similar to that made by trade union members. Those days are gone and they ain't coming back. Let's be quite honest, employment laws aren't better enforced because to do so would hurt corporate interests.

Corporate greed and corporate welfare go hand in hand with hiring illegal aliens, and that seems to be the face of today's meat packing industry.

Although things haven't quite digressed into the terrible world Sinclair described while denouncing the pre-modern meat packing industry in his book "The Jungle", it appears that worker safety and food safety are in decline once again in the meat packing industry.

Corporate interests couldn't exploit illegal labor pools without the tacit approval of the US Government. The recent action by the Fed's is the exception rather than the rule, I don't believe it portends the onset of a total crackdown on illegal workers.

At 12/21/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous Proenviroment said...

The Rock River is 3 miles from Triumph and the City dump is about five.

I trust EPA and the Core is doing the right thing.

At 12/21/2006 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

proenvironment (you even lie in your name) That is simply not true. The Rock River is far less than a mile from the site of the Triumph plant.

Any look at an aerial shot of the area shows that clearly.

If you can't make your point without resorting to lies and dishonesty, don't bother.

Why is your first impulse always to lie and try to be deceptive? Is that how you serve the public?

At 12/21/2006 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The voters have a right to know who is running this blog and why they will not stand for electuion. As well, anti-pig people have to deal with facts too. If the river isn't a mile away hpow far is it. And don't be off by a foot as you will be aliar. Get over yourself. You sound as if you are the Dope's mother, or perhaps his side kick Mcneil?


At 12/21/2006 11:42 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Bite my ass. You're the most clueless idiot imaginable and so stupid you don't even realize it. Get a life, putz.

Saying something is 5 miles away when it's less than a mile away IS a lie. You don't have to go out there with a tape measure to figure that out, just look at a damn map!

And since when do blog owners have to be elected? Are you freaking nuts? Or just skipped your medicine today?

And I don't need a "side-kick", and Mcneil has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog or anything about it.

Grow up!

At 12/22/2006 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you need to realize is the damage the illegals are doing to this country and what they will continue to do unless we shut them off.

We are a country of laws and rules and the illegals that come into this country are breaking this law. Are they being punished-from what I can tell no.

Many people come into this country legally and "pay the price" to be an American citizen. They learn about our country and them assimilate to this culture.

Because we are not addressing this issue as we should Americans are being killed by illegals, our social welfare programs for Americans are being "raped" by people who have "no rights" to these programs, our prisons are being filled by illegal immigrants
that at last count comprise 29% of the federal prison population.

Furthermore, our tax dollars are being fed into the schools to educate the children of the illegal aliens who do not speak english because their parents do not assimilate to our culture and continue speaking spanish as their primary language at home.

In 1954 under the Eisenhower Administration they utilized a program called Operation Wetback to address the issue of illegals. I am certain that they did not have the problems we are having now in association with the illegals present date but their politicians did recognize it was a problem.

I could go on in relation to this information but needless to say unless we do something about this problem we will continue to see problems associated with illegals and as most Americans I am tired of our own politicians not respecting this country and its laws. What they are doing to this country is a shame.

An uneducated underclass is what we are creating by allowing this mass flow of illegals into this country. If they are leaving their country because it is corrupt what do you think they will do in our country?

At 12/23/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Thanks for your very peculiar views, though I'm sure many share them.

They reveal a lot of stuff which on closer examination don't make sense.

For instance, you say that illegal immigrants (from here on called immigrants) are "damaging" our country.

You also seem to think that these immigrants don't asimilate. And of course, by "immigrants", you're not talking about thousands of Philipinos or Irish or Australians. You're not worried about them, only Mexicans, though you don't say so.

You want these people to assimilate into our culture. Fair enough.

But the main things you are against are all means to help them do just that.

You're against them getting an education among other children. Yet this is probably the best way to "assimilate" them.

You're also against giving them any aid to help them get established and put down roots here, which of course, is the only way they could possibly assimilate.

Your idea that since there's corruption among the very most powerful and wealthy ruling class in Mexico, that somehow these dirt poor illegal immigrants who are ESCACPING that very corruption in an effort to live in a place where the government isn't corrupt, are going to love corruption so much that they'll corrupt our very government themselves.

This is a very strange logic. Are all elected officials of Hispanic descent naturally prone to corruption?

Thanks for your thoughts, but I think you have a little more thinking to do on the matter.

And be thankful that though there were many rabid anti-immigrant forces back when your ancestors came here, that they were held in check and your distant relatives were able to come here and get established and enjoy the American way of life.

I'd even go so far as to bet that the first few generations of your family in America probably held on to the old tongue, at least around the house, and probably enjoyed the company of other's of their same ethnicity and did their best to preserve the culture of their home country, whether it was German, Belgian, Italian, Chinese, or whatever.

Maybe the threat you feel is some sinking feeling that American will no longer be a white European dominated culture at some time in the future?

If that's the case, I'd say get over it. That just may come to pass.But the important thing is that the people retain the American values which make the country great, and that's more important than trying desperately to maintain a white dominated culture.

At 1/10/2007 9:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meat packing jobs as well as any other factory employment, a lot of the time, is looked at as lower class, or poor. We have enough legal citizens in the United States to do those jobs in the factories. Most people don't want to though because of it being looked down upon sometimes. Also, the identity of citizens in the U.S. need to be protected more, if illegal immigrants are using them to get jobs. Maybe if the minimum wage is raised, hopefully more legal citizens would want to do meat packing and other factory jobs.


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