Over 1,200 Arrested in 6 States in Illegal Immigrant Identity Theft Sting
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
WASHINGTON — More than 1,200 people were arrested in meatpacking plants in six states during raids that federal officials said amounted to the largest-ever workplace crackdown on illegal immigration.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday the investigation uncovered a "disturbing front" in the war against illegal immigration, in which illegal immigrants are using the identities of U.S. citizens to obtain jobs.
"Violations of our immigration laws and privacy rights often go hand in hand," he said. "Enforcement actions like this one protect the privacy rights of innocent Americans while striking a blow against illegal immigration."
The raids at Swift & Co. plants across the country resulted in 1,282 arrests, including 1,217 on immigration charges and 65 on criminal charges such as identity theft. Chertoff said the investigation is continuing into several groups that may have sold identity documents to illegal immigrants.
The arrested workers were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Laos,And Swift & Co's statement:
Advocates of stricter immigration control praised the raids and pointed out that they targeted people suspected of committing other crimes in addition to being in the U.S. illegally.
Others called the raids heavy-handed and criticized the effect on families.
"They are taking mothers and fathers, and we're really concerned about the children," said the Rev. Clarence Sandoval of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Logan, Utah. "I'm getting calls from mothers saying they don't know where their husband was taken."[BOO HOO...Ah, he probably just got homesick for some REAL home-cookin'.]
The company estimated a raid would remove up to 40 percent of its 13,000 workers. Greeley-based Swift describes itself as the world's second-largest meat processor with sales of about $9 billion.
In a written statement, President and CEO Sam Rovit said the company has never knowingly hired illegal workers and does not condone the practice.
Although no charges were filed, if they are filed, CEO Sam Rovit will undoubtably change his story. Or face perjury, 'cause he's lying his ass off.