Please visit the new home of Majikthise at

« Arming rival gangs in Iraq undermines US security | Main | China jails dissidents, stifles press ahead of major conference »

August 17, 2007

Head of UFCW speaks out against alleged ICE abuses

The head of the United Food and Commercial Workers' Union spoke out against the "increasingly militarized" raids that immigration authorities are conducting in the name of combating illegal immigration:

The president of the Food and Commercial Workers union on Thursday called for congressional hearings into tactics used by federal officials during immigration raids last year at six Swift & Co. meatpacking plants.

Union officials heard complaints from Swift workers in plants raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in December.

"No water, no food for hours standing up there together. Worse than the animals that are sacrificed there every day," said Delphina Arias, 44, who works at the Cactus, Texas, Swift plant. "It was depressing as a U.S. citizen and as a human being."

Joseph Hansen, president of the union, said workers' rights are under attack and the union will defend them.

"At gunpoint, more than 12,000 workers were herded together and systematically stripped of their rights," Hansen said. "Workers were denied access to telephones, to bathrooms and legal counsel."

ICE officials investigating identity theft arrested more than 1,200 workers at the Swift plants.

ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the union's allegations were baseless. [AP]

Note that ICE didn't get a criminal warrant from a judge to search the premises. You have to show probable cause for that.

The police can't just detain 1200 people at gunpoint first, and ask questions later. 

However, ICE obtained a civil search warrant--even though they were investigating crimes (identity theft and illegal immigration). They did so knowing they were rounding up US citizens and lawful aliens in the process.

The UFCW is planning a suit against ICE on Fourth Amendment grounds.

Even diehard opponents of illegal immigration should side with the UFCW against ICE's paramilitary tactics.

Let's ignore the ethics of using the threat of deadly force apprehend non-violent workers suspected of being out of status.

The there's still the issue of ICE detaining first and asking questions later. If they don't have to supply evidence upfront, they can do this to anyone. Americans should be able to go to work without fear that the feds are going to break the door down and round them up because they suspect there might be some illegal immigrants on staff.

Manufactured hysteria over illegal immigration is taking its place beside terrorism and the drug war as excuses to erode civil liberties for everyone. Securing the border shouldn't come at the expense of our right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Head of UFCW speaks out against alleged ICE abuses:


I see the dateline is in Omaha, NE - my hometown. I didn't know that the UFCW was headquartered there, but it makes sense considering that Omaha used to be the US capital of meatpacking for a while. Back then packing houses were good-paying union jobs. Now the meat packing industry is extremely decentralized, making laborers in this industry more prone to abuses by both employers and the government.

God bless the free market.

Boo Fucking Hoo, they braved worse getting here illegally, thye are not US citizens so I give less than a shit!

I'm going to take a wild guess, Dave: You're an asshole, right?

Dave -

What if Immigration holds you for hours without access to a phone or water or food or a bathroom, because some of your co-workers are suspected of being here illegally? Is that OK?

After working for the worst employer on the face of the planet, I tried to report illegal Canadians working for UBS in NYC a few years ago and couldn't get anyone's attention at ICE. I think they would have been treated differently had they been Mexican.

I am going to take a wild guess, John: You're a cock sucking tree hugger, right?


I would have to say that would suck, but I work for a small company and every one there is legal so it is not a concern of mine.

For starters anyone who hires an illegal should be punished.

Second of all if they are not legal they do not deserve to share the same rights as we do here, so again I could care less what happens to the illegals.
They can get work visas and go through the proper channels to become legal if they wish t avoid these problems.

Actually Dave, I'm a hug-sucking tree-cocker, but thanks for asking. Is the small company you work for the Minutemen? I imagine they're payroll is pretty small. Oh, the army surplus store called; they're running out of cammies. Hey, I saw a gross of Korans for sale on eBay. Whaddaya say we split the cost and shoot 'em up together? You bring the beef jerky, I'll bring the Old Milwaukee. Is it a date?

Oh you must have mistaken me for your redneck grandmother!

You fucking douchebag. Too bad for you though that the majority of this country has had with the illegals. It is sad that you can't see the damage they are doing.

Hell no on the Koreans, but I sure could go for a great bowl of Kegogi(sp) with a side of Kimchee if you know of any good Korean restaraunts.

P.S. I would gladly donate to the Minutemen, they are doing the job our gov. fails to do!

We need to support Labor Unions.

If this recent mining tragedy doesn't wake people up, nothing will. Pack it in people.

Thomas Frank says and writes it best when he speaks of the need to support labor unions; to rally 'round that cause, and take it to the next level.

Ah, I see Dave is rearing his ugly head again.

Dave is a paid, professional, troll, from Bill Orally. Prove you're not, Dave.

Whether or not Dave is a professional troll doesn't really affect the fact that he isn't getting the point: American citizens are being illegally detained because some of their coworkers are suspected of being illegal aliens.

A lot of the rhetoric directed against illegal immigrants assumes that if the illegals were eliminated, good American citizens would take their jobs. But here we have a situation where the Americans who would take those sorts of jobs are being treated as criminals.

Well, as long as we're enlisting emotionally disturbed rubes to protect us against threats the government won't face up to, we can get some of them down to Padre Island, to face off against the latest global-warming-enhanced monster hurricane to bear down on our shores. I'd even be willing to chip in for some bus fare.

"I work for a small company and every one there is legal so it is not a concern of mine."

How do you know they're all "legal?" What if one of them is doing something illegal that you don't know about? How would you like it if law enforcement officials locked you up without food, water or a bathroom while they tried to figure out who was using the office computer network to, say, commit bank fraud?

>Whether or not Dave is a professional troll doesn't really affect the fact that he isn't getting the point

Of course it does. Makes all the difference in the world. Trolls deliberately don't get the point because the purpose of their posting is to stir up shit, not to have stimulating discussions. Hostility, violent language, insane stupidly -- all very useful to provoke the unwary. Ignore him. He'll get bored and go away eventually. If somebody honestly doesn't get the point of a topic, then you can have a discussion that's actually grounded in the subject matter.

If you really think someone's a troll, then don't feed them.

I'm not defending the ICE, and I'm not a vegetarian, but I have to say, the guy's claim that they were treated "worse" than the animals at the meatpacking plant they work at is hilarious. I mean, at the end of the day, they weren't slaughtered for human consumption. Ya gotta give the ICE credit for that!

I thought this post was about unlawful detention, not immigration. Delphina Arias is a U.S. citizen who was detained without charges for the crime of going to her legal job. Unless you think 'working while brown' should join 'driving while black' as part of legal system I don't know why anyone would support these kind of raids in the workplace.

Dave, I see we're a bit dyspeptic this morning. You need to work off some choler. Go to a garden shop and get yourself one of those ceramic sleeping Mexican statue things, take it out to to the woods along with your trusty .44 magnum, and blow the crap out of it. You can get one of those Negro lawn jockeys while you're at it, and show those darkies what the Aryan race is all about!

The INS has long had the power to indefinetely detain illegal immigrants. Obviously, the Bush administration thinks they should be able to do this with anybody.

Dave -

The odds that I'm going to be detained for hours by Immigration in the next year is miniscule.

But I still sympathize with the people who went through that, instead of just saying that since it won't happen to me, it is "not a concern of mine."

We need laws to protect everyone's civil liberties. Immigration shouldn't be allowed to raid a workplace and keep anyone they want from food, water, phones, and a bathroom for hours.

Hey, Dave, Pastor Niemöller wasn't concerned either. But you're not planning on any dangerous intellectualizing, are you?

People might be more open to your argument if so much of the left blogosphere wasn't decisively pro- illegal immigration. I'm against these measures, as they violate constitutional protections that are meant to cover ALL people, not just citizens. You don't detain people illegally, and if you are defending that you're a traitor to your country. It's really that simple, George W. Bush isn't America, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were. The constitution is.

At the same time, lets not pretend that most of you actually want real measures taken against illegal immigrants. You parrot lame lines about jobs Americans won't do (... for 50 cents an hour...) and how we're supposed to be a melting pot. You aren't really too keen about working to try and change the laws you don't like either, you mostly just want people to ignore them. Don't be shocked when the other side doesn't think your credible on issues of law and order. You complain about laws not being followed because you want different laws to not get followed.

It's times like this that make it clear that there is one glaring blindspot for the blogosphere. You don't really suffer a lack of gender diversity, or even so much racial diversity. What you all lack is economic diversity. You have a bunch of rich or well-off men and women discussing an issue THEY benefit from, while the vast majority of people suffer from job-competition with non-minimum wage, non-benefit workers. The blogosphere talks endlessly about Abortion and Gay rights, because those are important issues to wealthy people. But to most americans, 30 years of wage stagnation and being unable to afford health care or college are the most important issues.

Soullite, being pro-illegal immigration is a red herring. I am convinced that it's more or less impossible to significantly reduce the number of people coming into the US illegally, even if we resort to draconian measures.

That doesn't mean we should have open borders. (I'm so sick of hearing that canard.) That doesn't mean we can't clean up ICE and make the process more efficient and transparent.

I'll concede for the sake of argument that illegal immigration depresses wages at the low end. However, border fences and mass deportations are not going to stop that problem, they're only going to make matters worse.

Illegal immigrants can't organize and protect their rights. They become an even bigger drag on wages if they can't even hold out for minimum wage and their employer can call ICE to arrive with guns if they grumble about working conditions or make noises about unionization.

lets not pretend that most of you actually want real measures taken against illegal immigrants.

Oh baloney. File that with the other reactionary myth about liberals wanting to get everyone signed up with bloated entitlement programs so that capitalism will collapse and we’ll all be slaves of the state.

In a world where the population increases currently at the rate of about one Denmark per month and the per capita GDP disparity between richest and poorest nations exceeds 500 times, the problem of illegal migration is now inevitably global. Albanians in Italy, Mauritanians in Spain, Zimbabweans in South Africa, North Koreans in China, Brazilians in Ireland, Pakistanis in Kuwait. . . – The largest migration in human history is underway from poorer to wealthier countries and from rural to urban areas. Most of these people are not welcome wherever they are going, but that’s hardly going to stop them. A policy of outright murder might. Even as a card-carrying, bleeding-heart leftie, I’m not thrilled by the prospect of the American population bloating ad infinitum. The US population has doubled in my lifetime, and with immigration and the highest native birthrate among developed nations, I’ll never live to see anything but sprawl and increasing rents.

These migrants, who worldwide now number in the hundreds of millions, are vulnerable to exploitation, often of the most ruthless kind. It’s a problem of human rights. Short of an end to global economic disparity or machine-gunning anyone found on foot in the Southwest deserts, illegal immigrants will be with us. We have every right to try to regulate the number of people entering the U.S., but natives still have constitutional rights and illegal immigrants have human rights. But if you feel that human rights are the exclusive property of U.S. citizens who are readily identified by sight as being so, never mind.

I love it. Some douchbag calls me an asshole, I reply and get labelled a professional troll.

Who the hell is Pastor Niemöller?

You are right Michael Schmidt, let me clarify that, everyone I work with is a LEGAL CITIZEN.

Every one pisses and moans at the ICE, yet no one bitches about the companies employing the illegals.

First they break the law coming here, and no one wants to label them as criminals. On top of all this ICE was there to also investigate identity theft.
The illegals start using someone else's SSN # but it is ok because they are here to give their family a better life. Oh yeah then our tax dollars go towards their kids education, oh but wait half of them don't even pay into the tax system.

The illegals deserve worse treatment than what they recieved and as for the legal employees, go complain to your employer for fucking hiring them in the first place!

Cfrost, you have just taken the number one spot of Fuckstick away from Mudkitty. The issue has nothing to do with racism. Trust me though I recognize what you are trying to do there, you might have been able to stifle the arguement if you could have convinced everyone that it is anti-semetic and called me a Nazi instead of just the run of the mill aryan.

The comments to this entry are closed.