The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.
The convicted immigrants were among 389 workers detained at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in nearby Postville in a raid that federal officials called the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace.
Matt M. Dummermuth, the United States attorney for northern Iowa, who oversaw the prosecutions, called the operation an “astonishing success.”
Oh, good for you, Mr. Dummermuth. The article continues: (my bold)
Why is there such frantic haste? Why are they pushing these raids just before a presidential election? ... oh.
The unusually swift proceedings, in which 297 immigrants pleaded guilty and were sentenced in four days, were criticized by criminal defense lawyers, who warned of violations of due process. Twenty-seven immigrants received probation. The American Immigration Lawyers Association protested that the workers had been denied meetings with immigration lawyers and that their claims under immigration law had been swept aside in unusual and speedy plea agreements.
The illegal immigrants, most from Guatemala, filed into the courtrooms in groups of 10, their hands and feet shackled. One by one, they entered guilty pleas through a Spanish interpreter, admitting they had taken jobs using fraudulent Social Security cards or immigration documents. Moments later, they moved to another courtroom for sentencing.
The pleas were part of a deal worked out with prosecutors to avoid even more serious charges. Most immigrants agreed to immediate deportation after they serve five months in prison.
Remember what has happened to other immigrants who were swept up into the private prison system
(which is doing a very nice business at the moment), do we know what is happening to them? Do they have access to their families?
The article points out the evilness of these aliens:
All but a handful of the workers here had no criminal record, court documents showed.And clearly, the businesses who hired these evil illegal aliens have been jailed or at least fined, right? The article continues:
Ah. The corporations actually are pissed because lack of exploitable workers raises prices. They've even tried treating workers from India as they do the Mexicans, but it didn't go very well.
No charges have been brought against managers or owners at Agriprocessors, but there were indications that prosecutors were also preparing a case against the company. In pleading guilty, immigrants had to agree to cooperate with any investigation.
Chaim Abrahams, a representative of Agriprocessors, said in a statement that he could not comment about specific accusations but that the company was cooperating with the government.
Note this amazingly unacknowledged fact:
"In 2001, the Social Security Administration concluded that undocumented immigrants "account for a major portion of the billions of dollars paid into social security that don’t match SSA records," which payees, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, can never draw upon. As of July 2003, these payments totaled $421 billion."How about we spend the money intended for the border wall to start businesses in Mexico and Guatemala so these desperate families stay home?
Making these undocumented workers the scapegoat for our economic ills has been a traditional ploy in our political theater. It also brings out the truly ugly part of our society.
Is this the America we want to be?
Update from Steve: If you purposely pour sugar on the floor of your kitchen, don't you dare complain about the ants you attract. Terribly insulting metaphor, to be sure, but until the companies that hire illegals are brought into the justice system and punished , then the illegals, like the ants, will still swarm to where they can get jobs. Don't blame them, they're just trying to make a living. You may not like them, their culture or their lifestyle, but they're not the problem, only a symptom of the problem. [/rant]
crossposted at Rants from the Rookery