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December 13, 2006

Legal immigrants kidnapped by DHS, union fights back


The Department of Homeland Security appears to have kidnapped a bunch of people this week. Yesterday, over 1000 agents, some clad in riot gear and toting machine guns, raided meatpacking plants in six states. Justin Rood of TPM Muckraker spoke to a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers, the union that represents many of the abducted workers:

"Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses," regardless of the immigrants' legal status, Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UCFW) told me this morning.

Cashen said that reports from all six states confirmed that legal immigrants were among those taken away, and have not been returned. "We're still trying to find out where the buses went," she said. "Children have been left at church day cares. Nobody knows where these people are."

Recently unsealed court documents show that DHS had identified 170 identity-fraud suspects it wished to apprehend, but that the agency wanted to round up as many as 5,000 other workers because it "further expect[ed] to apprehend persons who are engaged in large-scale identity theft[.]" Union officials say the total number of detained workers may be higher than 5,000. (Update: We've uploaded those court documents to our document collection here.) [TPM Muckraker]

The DHS says it made 1,282 arrests in yesterday's raid on Swift & Co. meatpacking plants--1,217 on immigration charges and 65 on criminal charges including identity theft. No charges were filed against Swift.

The UFCW issued a press release on the raids today, the union is seeking a federal injunction on behalf of Swift & Co. workers in Texas, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.


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Get real, you guys! For serious!!!

Thirty internets-bucks say Phantom imagines himself saying that as he puts his shades on, jumps on a motorcycle, and rides away, leaving all those liberal women who foolishly spurned him swooning.

Some of the biggest supporters of illegal immigration are big agriculture and big business in general. They like the dampening effect of illegals on wages.

If the economy wasn't so strong, you'd be hearing a strong pushback from construction workers/unions on this. More and more carpentry, sheetrock, grunt work being done by illegals. Let the construction economy dip just a little bit, and this becomes an immense issue as union workers or union shop contractors simply cannot find work.

aeroman: oh, pshaw.


Much of the stuff about illegals "doing work Americans won't do" is a lie, and nowhere is it more of a lie than in construction. I'm talking one family houses in Arizona, rehabs in NYC, etc etc. The only reason illegals are on the job is because they are nonunion and have undercut the American union workers on the basis of price and benefits. Watch this one. Gotta go. Don't miss me too much aeroman.

"I don't deny that most do not hate America, but I think a lot of them do. "

Just what exactly do you mean by "hate America"? Do they hate the dirt? Do they hate the people? Do they hate the culture? Do they hate the system of government? Do they hate the people currently in government?

While I am sure that a lot of people do have a nebulous rage that can be best defined as "hating America" I doubt it applies to the lawyers zealously defending the alleged terrorists in Guantanamo, some of whom are mid-rank military officers. The people you are putting in this catagory are intelligent and have very disciplined minds, so if they are hating, I am sure it is a very specific type of hatred. What exactly do you think they hate?

B'mo, I'll stop calling you a dumbass (sorry, agilipollao...didn't mean to disrespect your heritage) when you stop acting like one. It's precisely the agitprop Know Nothings like you fall for that is getting in the way of sensible solutions and allow this ridiculousness to continue.

These raids are theater. The people who came up with them know full well these tactics won't accomplish anything, unless we had some sort of massive surveillance state that tracked the identity of everyone, non-citizen and citizen alike...and not without significant trampling of everyone's rights. They've told me as much.

I bet dollars to doughnuts the companies involved had full knowledge this was coming, just like Vail Associates did when I covered the story.

It's all a game, and it's not driven by the workers. Vail actually sent buses down to the border to pick up workers. They'd drop them off in surrounding communities with instructions to find a place to live and that the bus would return at 5 in the morning. People would cram into trailer homes, sleeping and working in shifts until they could get on their feet and find something better.

Every 2-3 years, the INS would round everyone up - everyone except the hundreds of Canadian, Swiss, and Swede ski bums living in the Vail Valley who've overstayed their visas. After the requisite hullaballoo in the Denver papers and the handwringing in the state legislatures satisfied the suburbanites that their condo beds weren't being turned down by dirty messican illegals, the game would start over.

And of all the people who benefit from this charade - the companies, the press, and the politicians - you want to blame the workers, the only ones trying to make an honest living.

I doubt it applies to the lawyers zealously defending the alleged terrorists in Guantanamo

Njorl beat me to it. The detainees at Guantanamo are not "terrorists," but suspects.

I would submit that anyone who doesn't consider that distinction meaningful really does "hate America," as they hold our entire concept of the rule of law in contempt.


Let's look at terrorist hag-groupie Lynne Stewart.

I'd say that she hates the capitalist economic system, our system of imperfect democratic government, "white America", however someone like that enterprets that,and the military.

Apart from that, she's a fine American.

--The detainees at Guantanamo are not "terrorists," but suspects.--

Yeah, sure. And all the Nazi and Japanese POWs in WW2 they're still suspects too, since they were never given individual trials and were never defended by Lynne Stewart.

If they only knew what they missed! What a tragedy of justice!

Gee, here's a big surprise: Swift & Co. gave a big wad of cash to the same wingnut politician who rants and raves about all the messicans who forced Swift & Co. to hire them.

Well Sven, now you are insulting me spanish. You are a piece of work. That's even more insulting! Do not try to speak my language to me. Ever!

So now I am know nothing. Please! And this crap about blaming the worker? I blame everyone you mentioned, but that doesn;t mean the worker gets to stay! The problem is this: if they worked half as hard at fixing their own countries problems, instead of coming here illegally, maybe their countries wouldn't be cesspool shitholes! I've been to Mexico, Guatamala, Belize, and Honduras. Yeah, it sucks there. (And no, I wasn't there on spring break. I was there building homes for the poor.) But they to make things better for themselves instead of using the los Estados Unitos to cure their ills.

My whole point is that these people come here and are a drain on our schools, social services and health care. Where is your advocacy for the poor blacks in the ghetto? Where is your advocacy for the poor whites? Or the poor latinos who are second generation citizens? What about all of our homeless veterans? Or homeless in general? All of these people are pushed back in the line for people who aren;t even citizens. People like you would rather stand up for the ILLEGAL than support and advocate for actual citizens. And I am the stupid fool? You make me sick!

And it's Mexican you ASS!! Stop with the messican. It's very insulting.

Yeah, sure.

Very well argued.

And all the Nazi and Japanese POWs in WW2 they're still suspects too

No, they were not suspects, they were prisoners of war, and as such their treatment was subject to international law. And they were freed at the conclusion of hostilities. The detainees at G'mo, in contrast, have no such legal status...they have been assigned a status of "enemy combatant," which has no basis in international law. They are held without charges, strictly on the President's say-so. And because the "war on terror," by definition, can last indefinitely if the President wishes it too, they can be held indefinitely with no recourse.

But you knew that. Now it's your turn to dodge the points made in the preceding paragraph and tell us more about how much you hate Lynne Stewart. We're all dying to hear.


I am willing to let every one of the Terrorist Combantants in Gitmo free once there is no more Islamic Terror Threat in the US or US interests in the rest of the world.

You certify that this is so, and I'll be on your side, banging the drum to "let my people go".

You may have heard that there is a process whereby many have been released from Gitmo, and a certain number of them have been picked up "on the battlefield" so to speak?

The Gitmo terrorists are where they need to be. That's the truth. Can you handle the truth?

Oh Phantom, you know I'm powerless before your Jack Nicholson impersonation. So very butch...I'm weak at the knees.

I shouldn't have bothered.

Question: wasn't there recently a big showdown with the union and/or with workers at an Armour or Swift plant recently?

And of course you can document that a person first detained and then released from Gitmo was actually engaged in operations against the U.S. (as opposed to being another fucking Baghdad cab driver swept up and taken to a detention facility for being in the wrong place at the wrong time)? Or are you just another racist using the acts of a few terrorists to justify your desire to torture and kill dark-skinned people?

You're more than a hunderd years too late for pith helmets and a "whiff of the Maxim gun."

--I'm weak at the knees--

Yes you are. Carry on!

--Are you just another racist--

No, I'm quite enlighted and progressive. Pourquoi demandez-vous?

B-money, you keep on talking about illegal workers, and how they deserve punishment. But I thought the hugest issue here is this:

"Cashen said that reports from all six states confirmed that legal immigrants were among those taken away, and have not been returned."

Did you miss this?


How serious does one take a comment from someone who speaks in undifferentiated fashion about "immigrants" in discussions about "illegal immigrants" and who uses the phrase "storm troopers" when discussing an immigration raid.

If Storm Troopers attacked the meat packing plant, you'd know. Someone as inastute as to call these
"workers" "Storm Troopers" might be blowing hot air with everything else he says too.

I don't deny that most do not hate America, but I think a lot of them do.

I kind of like Habeas Corpus and the human rights thing so I guess that makes me an “America hater”. I’m booking a flight to Pakistan so I can hook up with al Qaeda.

Legal regulation of immigration is a relatively recent notion. Peoples have always moved around wherever and whenever it suited them. The United States didn’t try to regulate immigrants officially until we decided that Chinese laborers were a menace. At that time even the Irish, drunk, violent, stupid as they were assumed to be, (not to mention Catholic!) were allowed to step ashore and go wherever they want. A few years later it was determined that Italians, Jews, and other assorted Eastern and Southern European riffraff posed a grave threat and more or less modern immigration laws were adopted.

I think the U.S. population ballooning to 300 million with no end in sight is a recipe for disaster, but then the whole world’s population is out of control. As the broader human population grows by an impoverished billion or so every twenty years, we can use the oars to pound the hands grasping the lifeboat’s gunnels, but it’ll be futile in the long run.

Massive fines on those who knowingly employ them will be a fine part of any solution, and may lessen the need for dramatic scenes at meat packing plants.

And yet, in this case, the plant is facing NO penalty for hiring over a thousand illegal workers.

Funny, that. You'd almost think the government has no real desire to stop illegal immigration and is only interested in keeping illegal workers so cowed that they won't complain when they're mistreated and cheated of their wages.

Oh, sorry, I guess that makes me an "America hater" to point out that out. My bad.

"The Gitmo terrorists are where they need to be. That's the truth."

Is there a basis for believing this. It seems more like a profession of faith to make you feel better.

I would be very surprised if none of them were terrorists. I would wager that most of them at least took up arms against the US in some way. But I have no reason to think that all of them deserve to be there. It would be foolish to accept it. There is no incentive on the part of the captors to find them to be safe, and no capacity on behalf of the captured to prove their innocence.

You must remember, many of the people captured were sold into captivity for bounties that just required a body. They were taken from their homes, not battlefields or camps. Many were found to have been simply disliked by their neighbors, who saw a chance to make a quick $10,000-$40,000.

OK. In the spirit of the holidays, I say we all do out part to help AMERICANS!!!! I work with a great charity in Chicago called the Catholic Charities of Chicago which feeds, houses and aids homeless people in ChiTown. These are actual citizens who need help! Veterans, mothers, fathers, kids. Not Illegal aliens! These people need your help! Or are you too busy advocating for the rights of ILLEGALS!!??

Do not try to speak my language to me. Ever!
So, B-Money owns the Spanish language franchise?

are you too busy advocating for the rights of ILLEGALS!!??
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It says “all men”, but then I guess the fact that Jefferson used that phrase proves he too was an America hater.


I never said I owned anything. Re-read the posts and you will see I was not taking kindly to Sven's remarks, and I was insulted, as a Latino, that he would try "speak" to me in Spanish. It was a comment directed towards Sven only. So F*** off!

Secondly, I love when people throw out the Decleration and the "All Men..." line. All I am saying is why don't we take care of our CITIZENS who are created equal who are poor and need help before we start trying to help the poor Illegal Immigrant worker who came here and broke the law doing so. Go to any inner city and try to make a difference there. I do. So before you get on you moral high horse and throw out the eqaulity talk when comes to Illegals in this country, ask yourself, who deserves the aid and advocacy more, Illegals or our own CITIZENS!

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