The Raid in Postville (Editorial)

Reference: The Forward

May 22, 2008

Excerpt:

“Makeshift federal courtrooms were set up last week on a rented fairground in Waterloo, Iowa, for the trial, conviction and sentencing of the 389 workers arrested on immigration charges in a May 12 federal raid on the AgriProcessors, Inc. kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, 75 miles away. On May 19, the first day of the scheduled four-day proceedings, 85 defendants were convicted and sentenced. Of these, 77 pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and fraudulent use of Social Security numbers to obtain the documents needed to get their jobs; each received five months’ imprisonment, to be followed by deportation and three years’ supervised release in their home countries. The remaining eight were sentenced to immediate deportation and five years’ probation, but avoided prison because their false identities were not stolen from an actual person. The United States attorney boasted that this was “the greatest number of defendants ever to plead guilty and be sentenced in one day in the Northern District of Iowa.”

Superlatives are called for in nearly every aspect of the case. The AgriProcessors plant, owned by the Rubashkin family of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, is the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse. The raid, involving scores of agents from 16 federal, state and local agencies, arriving by helicopter, bus and jeep, was the biggest single-site immigration raid in American history. In all, agents were carrying arrest warrants for 697 of the plant’s 968 employees.”

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/13419/the-raid-in-postville-/#ixzz2TZEbAicV