Skip to comments.Immigration Raids Lead U.S. to a Moral, Legal Crisis
Posted on 06/19/2008 8:58:57 PM PDT by Coffee200am
Postville, Iowa has been turned into a ghost town. Nearly a third of its residents, mostly undocumented workers from Guatemala and Mexico, sit in jail convicted of identity crimes or awaiting deportation. Hundreds more hide in fear. Their children, too scared to go to school, have left the towns classrooms nearly empty. For this, Postville should thank their local police, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), and a failed immigration policy.
Aided by local law enforcement, ICE arrested 389 workers during the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history at the Postville meatpacking plant, the areas major employer. In an unprecedented move, ICE criminally charged 302 of these workers with aggravated ID theft and/or using false social security numbers. Within days, ICE resolved their fate: 297 men and women pled guilty and were sentenced to prison and subsequent deportation. Only a few await criminal trials or immigration hearings.
Postville is one of the latest in a series of immigration raids that have intensified in the past three years. These raids are leading our nation to a moral, legal and humanitarian crisis.
ICEs heavy-handed enforcement against undocumented workers in the wake of failed immigration reform is shameful. Under current immigration laws, no more than 10,000 of the backlogged visas for unskilled workers and 66,000 temporary visas for seasonal workers are available each year. In contrast, an estimated 2,000 persons cross the Southwest border into the U.S. daily and an estimated 12 million undocumented persons live in the United States.
Global economic realities push willing workers out of their nations, where they have no means to earn even a subsistence living and pull them into low-wage jobs in the United States, where the lack of labor protection leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. U.S. employers and we as consumers benefit from their cheap labor, but these workers and their families bear the brunt of a broken immigration system.
Few employers face civil and criminal sanctions for violating immigration and labor laws. So far, no one from Postville plant has been charged despite overwhelming evidence that the company helped workers procure false documents, paid substandard wages, failed to pay overtime, and seriously mistreated its workers. All the while, Congress continues to kill proposals granting even temporary legal status to agricultural workers, while doling out large subsidies to U.S. farmers without regard to their effect on future migration of rural workers from developing nations into the United States.
Legally speaking, ICE and federal prosecutors overstepped their powers when they criminally charged the workers. Congress specifically exempted from prosecution workers who use false Social Security numbers to engage in otherwise lawful conduct, such as to procure jobs.
This unprecedented criminalization of undocumented workers also has not been accompanied by a comparable infusion of constitutional guarantees in the handling of these cases. ICE conducted the investigation leading to the Postville raid with easy access to immigration databases and employee documents. ICE then executed the raid with easily-procured administrative, not criminal, warrants.
Thus, the protection of stricter Fourth Amendment search and seizure, Fifth Amendment due process, and Sixth Amendment right to counsel constitutional guarantees available to most criminal defendants were unavailable to these workers. Nearly all waived any rights they might have had under extreme prosecutorial pressure. The uncharacteristic speed and efficiency of the Postville raid left workers without adequate opportunity to consult with defense counsel, and none or few had access to immigration lawyers to learn about the immigration consequences of their pleas.
The involvement of local law enforcement in these raids is also worrisome. Distrust of police keeps many immigrants from reporting crime. This increases their vulnerability as victims. Moreover, the drain on limited resources from these additional responsibilities on local police takes away from their primary duties as community caretakers.
The courts must be vigilant in protecting the rights of workers and their families and insist on stricter constitutional guarantees when criminal charges are involved.
These raids should be halted immediately. The prospect of future raids should certainly create a sense of urgency for the United States to adopt immigration policies that allows employers to hire migrant workers, and include strong labor protections that offer a path to legalization for workers and their families. If workers are legal, we are all better off.
Aldana is a board member of the Society of American Law Teachers and a professor of law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Law.
(That’s “Boo Hoo” in Spanish)
They’re right next door to me, ICE. Go and GET them.
No, no. It’s “Cry Me A Rio.”
No moral issues as far as I’m concerned. They broke the law, they go home. Very simple, and much better treatment than the average US citizen criminal faces in his own country.
I agree that employers should be fined too. Other than that, I am glad to see the Government finally doing its job (though its probably just doing it for show).
Exactly, no one is the blame but the illegals them selves..they could of stayed home....
And much better treatment than the average US citizen criminal faces in Mejico.
“Aided by local law enforcement, ICE arrested 389 workers during the largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history at the Postville meatpacking plant, the areas major employer. In an unprecedented move, ICE criminally charged 302 of these workers with aggravated ID theft and/or using false social security numbers. Within days, ICE resolved their fate: 297 men and women pled guilty and were sentenced to prison and subsequent deportation.”
ICE agents rock! They sure do more than the BP.
And Ms. Aldana, with all your mumbo jumbo legal arguments, shouldn’t there only be 1 question here?
Are these invaders here LEGALLY?
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
>The involvement of local law enforcement in these raids is also worrisome
This guy should be hanged
Obedience of the law is demanded; not asked as a favor.
No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it.
There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100% Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Congress exempted illegal aliens from identity theft laws?
There was a time in this country when someone this stupid could not get a job as a janitor at a “law school.” Now, a person with her level of intelligence can actually get a job as a “teacher” at a “law school.” Must be one of those “wrong direction” things that the pollsters are always asking about.
“Legally speaking, ICE and federal prosecutors overstepped their powers when they criminally charged the workers. Congress specifically exempted from prosecution workers who use false Social Security numbers to engage in otherwise lawful conduct, such as to procure jobs.”
Actually its Congress who has overstepped their powers by exempting illegals from prosecution.
As for the fact that the employers face no charges, she's right. We can and should fix that. Under current law, this employer is liable for fines of up to $5,000/illegal, with IIRC an additional fine of $6,000/illegal if a "pattern of practice" of hiring illegals can be established. A fine of about $3 million would send a nice message to other employers. Let's roll.
Just because this government has failed to enforce the law in the past doesn't mean they shouldn't do it now.
Fact is they should greatly intensify the capture an deportation to make up for their past dereliction of duty
Since all the illegals are surely not in jail, it's certain that illegals made up a majority of the population. It's also clear that the American citizens of the town have been victims of an invasion that rendered them aliens in their own hometown. It's also clear that when companies built a meatpacking plant in an area without a large enough population to fill the jobs, and then advertize the jobs in Spanish language papers, and hire huge numbers of Spanish speakers, they know perfectly well they are conspiring to break our immigration laws. The feds should go after them with RICO laws, jail the top management and seize the plant.
Unemployment in the USA jumped from 5.0 to 5.5% and this guy advocates to increase the work visa for foreigners. Bottom line is this guy is a racist! He wants only people of “his kind” to have jobs. I say, leave the jobs for Americans who were born here first, since those people have a stake in this country.
Joma, quite honestly, most of the jobs these illegals perform are ones that 98% of the people in the 5.5% wouldn’t get off welfare to take. I think the issue here, as it has been for a long time, is to provide a way for these migrant workers, which most of them are, to be able to come to this country legally, work legally, and go home during the down months if they want to. The companies that hire them don’t want this because they would then have to pay them minimum wage. This would increase tax revenue that could be used to further fight illegal immigration and those who facilitate the crime. Remember, the illegal immigrant is not the only guilty party in his or her situation. In almost every case there are many facilitators to their crime. The “coyote” who helped them get here. The immoral unethical bastard of a business owner who hires them, etc.
I could not agree more.
Thousands of employers, corporation owners and their senior management, need to be be prosecuted, jailed and fined.
2nd a 3rd offense..those holding interest in the company, need to have their business assets and interest seized.
I fail to see the validity of this statement. It isn't immoral to arrest people who are in this country illegally. The humanitarian crisis belongs to nations from which these illegals come. The U.S. is not responsible for the welfare of people from other countries.
Failed immigrations policy? By whose definition? Only illegals. self-serving politicians and their cronies would believe that our quotas are insufficient.
Congress specifically exempted from prosecution workers who use false Social Security numbers to engage in otherwise lawful conduct, such as to procure jobs.
Since when has using false Social Security numbers or identity theft not been illegal?
No failure involved...
Sounds like the policy is working...
ICE is Nice in Postville, IA...
...and go home during the down months if they want to?
I have a problem with that. They should definitely go home during the down months.
Perchance they could reform their ways, so that their own people wouldn't have to run away from them by the tens of millions?
Don't they have any culpability?
Are they compassionate to their own?
No? Why not?
Why are we expected to be more compassionate than they are?
Isn't La Raza superior to us?
Take the deal now, amigos y amigas. There is no better time.
The only part of that you got right is two words:
BP made 1.2 million arrests last year.
It’s a Harvard educated, civil liberties, moonbat.....female. :)
I love the euphemisms here:
“Nearly a third of its residents, mostly undocumented workers from Guatemala and Mexico, sit in jail convicted of identity crimes or awaiting deportation.”
undocumented workers=illegal aliens
convicted of identity crimes=so they break the law to get into this country and then use false ID to work, again another crime.
I support more legal immigration into this country, but turning a blind eye to illegal immigration cheapens the value of American citizenship for all of us and particularly for those legal immigrants who wait patiently for the confounded bureaucracy to process them.
In business, this is known as protecting our brand.
It’s not MY moral or legal crisis. Scores of ILLEGALS break the laws by coming into this country and then start crime waves after they get here. THEY are the ones with a moral and legal crisis.
Are you capable of understanding the word ILLEGAL???
And Raquel manages to gloss over something quite important here... The fact that these illegal aliens were using identity theft to work in this country illegally.
Has she ever been the victim of identity theft? Has she ever been on the hook for taxes with the IRS for income she didn’t actually earn? Has she ever had to pay for the time of employees or lawyers to straighten out the mess caused by having your SSN used by illegal aliens to work illegally?
Yes, the federal government has made a real mess of things with immigration policy, or more to the point, ignoring illegal immigration for decade after decade. But at some point, you have to say “ENOUGH!”
When you’ve got a burst pipe in your basement, the first thing you have to do is turn off the water, not try to decide what color replacement carpet you’re going to get.
That means stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into the country, and making life (and earning a living) difficult for the illegal aliens already here. “Self deportation” is a good thing, and much cheaper and easier than “rounding up illegal aliens and deporting them.”
Is this true that congress exempted illegals from prosecution?
Wouldn’t most of the schools be empty any way for summer?
Yeah— I especially like the ‘humanitarian’ release to care for family members. Can I try that one if I get arrested for a DUI? We treat criminal aliens better than citizens.
Professor of Law
Professor Aldana earned her J.D. degree in 1997 from Harvard Law School, where she served as articles editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Prior to coming to the Boyd School of Law, Professor Aldana worked for the Center for Justice and International Law representing victims of gross human rights violations in the Inter-American System on Human Rights. She also taught a seminar in human rights at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Prior to that, she was an associate at the law firm of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. Professor Aldana teaches Immigration Law, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, International Human Rights, and International Public Law. She also co-teaches experiential learning courses, including a course in Nicaragua on domestic violence in a post-conflict society and a course on the criminalization of immigrants. She spent the Spring of 2006 as a Fulbright Scholar in Guatemala, where she taught courses on economic rights and conducted research on femicide.
No they don't.
According to the article it is. I would like to see the actual bill myself(and who was pushing it).
Too often, both the illegal immigrant supporters and various government officials are focused on the illegal immigrants themselves rather than the impact it has on American citizens. Immigration should work in favor of Americans. Clearly, the current policy and lack of controls do not work this way.
(Jaw dropped) I just saw an interview with a member of the family that owns the processing plant...The one where there are allegations of puny wages, abuse, and even beatings of illegal immigrant workers....He was a orthodox Jew...??!!??!!
Hat, beard, and all.
Raquel Aldana, you ignorant sl....