Swift Raid Detaineed Get Court Times Set

Meatpacking workers detained during last week’s federal raids began
facing immigration judges Tuesday in Colorado and five other

Some were released after relatives posted bond of at least $1,500.
In Colorado, Judge Donn Livingston saw 27 detainees at the regional
detention facility in Aurora and set court hearings where they are
to be informed of charges against them.

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury in Minnesota indicted 20 detained
workers on criminal-immigration offenses and charges related to
identity theft.

Now, the immigration authorities themselves – who last week stormed
six Swift & Co. plants in Greeley and other states based on
allegations that illegal workers stole U.S. identities to get jobs
– also are facing challenges in federal courts.

Labor-union leaders representing workers in Colorado have asked a
federal judge to release them, arguing that workers were mistreated
and denied access to lawyers.

The raids constituted “an outrageous abuse of police power,” and
the government’s criminal probe into identity theft “functioned as
the Trojan horse to effectuate an immigration raid,” said a
lawsuit filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local

U.S. District Judge John Kane has ordered immigrant detainees from
the Greeley plant to remain in his jurisdiction, but the union said
some had been taken out of state. Union officials said Kane on
Tuesday asked them to provide more details of their allegations.

Some 75 out of 260 workers detained in Greeley already have been
returned to Mexico.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have filed a
legal response saying detainees were told why they were arrested,
were allowed to use phones and were advised they could get legal

ICE officials routinely move detained immigrants around the country
to find beds.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo called Tuesday for more raids and urged the
government to target managers who hire illegal workers.

“This kind of enforcement action by ICE has been sorely missing
over the past decade, and I urge you to expand such operations to
other industries,” Tancredo, R-Colo., wrote in a letter to ICE
Assistant Secretary Julie Myers.

“Many in the agriculture industry prefer to use illegal labor
despite the availability of legal workers through the H-2A
(temporary worker) program, which as you know has no cap. I believe
an investigation would reveal that identity theft is rampant across
many sectors and industries, not only meatpacking,” Tancredo

And “it strains credulity,” he said, to suggest that so many
illegal workers at Swift “could be employed, in six plants,
without the company’s management being aware of it,” as the
company has claimed.