Unless you missed it, Greenville, SC made national news last week. Federal immigration officials raided a poultry processing plant. The result was that 330 workers were arrested who are "believed to be in the country illegally." This was at House of Raeford's Columbia Farms plant.
Back in January when I was establishing my political platform for the presidency (I've since withdrawn from the race), I was asked about my opinions on immigration. I responded at the time in this post.
I'd like to take credit for influencing the raid (and maybe rejoin the presidential race?). Seems the ICE officials followed a lot of my ideas. First, they followed my advice by enforcing the laws as they exist today.
An important note is that it was not only the illegal immigrants who were arrested, The Greenville News reported that 12 other employees were arrested/indicted on charges of immigration fraud. Someone at Columbia Farms had to know that this was going on, I'm glad to know they have been arrested also. How deep was the fraud? Well, the HR manager has been charged with "20 felony counts on charges of encouraging supervisors to falsify employment documents."
It should also be noted that ICE agents reviewed 825 I-9 forms "that verify a worker's immigration status -- and of those, 94 percent were found to be falsified" (see here).
So what's next? Well, about 1/4 of those arrested have been released (and will be monitored) to allow them to care for dependent children. And the belief is that "the majority of illegal workers will be administratively processed and deported."
We need to realize that the individuals involved are humans. One commenter noted that "families are going to be broken apart," to the folks at CNN. Also, some of the children, by fact that they were born here, are US Citizens. You may not like this, but it's the law. That's not an excuse to avoid deportation, but it is an indictment on the way we should treat these people: with respect.
I heard a report (unconfirmed) that the day after the raid, there was a line outside House of Raeford's for applications. After all, everyone knew that there were now 330 job openings. Seems the jobs aren't the ones that America won't take. Over a year ago, I commented on that idea (see here). I won't be putting a chicken breast on a machine at the plant any time soon, but I did have a job similar to this in high school. I decided it was something I didn't want to do for the rest of my life and went to college.
So here's my summary: Suspected illegal immigrants have been arrested. A judge will decide if they are illegal (should make Dan Kowalksi, "an Austin, Texas-based lawyer specializing in immigration law" happy). If they are illegal, they will be deported. Families may be affected and we as citizens need to step up to taking care of those who remain. Oh, and there are now some job openings in Greenville, SC