The Federal immigration raid last Monday in Postville, Iowa evoked all the stereotypical dramas — illegal aliens, identity theft, stolen Social Security cards, underage workers, worker abuse, a drug lab, a local school system burdened with illegal Hispanic children, a Protestant (mostly Lutheran) small town co-opted by Jewish business interests, Jewish businessmen skirting the law to turn an extra buck, a Catholic church offering sanctuary, an American labor union pitted against the Jewish businessmen who were hiring the cheaper illegal labor, a clash between two US government agencies with competing jurisdiction, pandering politicians scrambling to collect points with the Hispanic vote, liberal sympathizers supporting illegals in suing the government, foreign consulates sticking their noses in, protests that the civil rights of these criminal invaders have been violated and finally the WaPo putting a liberal spin on the news.
It is the stuff of opera, but this plot would be difficult to stage, because there are so many sub-themes that an audience could not follow the action. Ditto for the American public, trying to follow this in the mainstream news media that omit relevant background out of political correctness.
Last Monday, on May 12 at 10 AM in the morning, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided the world’s largest kosher meat packing plant, located in Postville, Iowa. From the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Courier:
Federal agents converged on the grounds of the Agriprocessors meat-packing plant in Postville at 10 a.m., rounding up Hispanics on investigations of identity theft, use of stolen Social Security cards and for people in the county illegally. As many as 300 people were arrested….
The raid by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was the largest such operation in Iowa history, said Matt M. Dummermuth, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.
He said the raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant was part of an investigation that started in October and came after months of planning. Agriprocessors is the world’s largest kosher meatpacking plant….
Prior to the ICE raid, the Iowa state labor department served a subpoena on the local school district for student information. From The Des Moines Register:
School officials in early April were served with a 21-point subpoena from Iowa Division of Labor Services seeking the records of Postville middle and high school students and information about some school employees, the district’s superintendent said.
The article goes on to note that school guidance counselor Ron Wahl hired some students, and that he in turn was involved with Agriprocessors. His computer and records were also seized.
Education Week reports:
In fact, 12 minors were arrested at the plant during Monday’s raid, according to federal officials….
Michael A. Olivas, a law professor at the University of Houston who specializes in immigration law, [e-mailed]. “I am not against legitimate law enforcement, including enforcement of child labor laws…. If that is accomplished by a legitimate subpoena, I assume it has met the test of such requirements. That it involves immigration … does not change the basics.”….
And from WHO TV in Des Moines comes this report:
It turns out illegal immigration may not have been the only illegal thing going on at Agriprocessors in Postville. According to Dave Neil, the Iowa Labor Commissioner, his department has “an on-going investigation” into child labor and wage violations there.
According to Iowa law, people under the age of 18 are prohibited from working “in or about slaughtering and meat packing establishments.” But rumors that teens were working at Agriprocessors and getting paid off the books had been circulating for months….
Allegations surfaced that the illegal Hispanic workers, who would not dare to complain for fear of being deported, were being physically abused by their Hassidic supervisors. These were taken into account in the warrant for the ICE raid. The weblog Cedar River Salmon has been following the story:
Postville, Iowa is seemingly the picture of diversity, but underneath it is an example of multiculturalism gone bad…. Mexicans have become the slave labor of an industry that was once the economic lifeblood of many Iowans and their communities…. In one case, a supervisor covered the eyes of an employee with duct tape and struck him with a meat hook. The worker, who had entered the country illegally from Guatemala, was not seriously injured. He declined to report the incident for fear of losing his job….
The Drug Lab
Jewish Telegraph, the self-proclaimed “global news service of the Jewish people,” admits:
Feds: Drugs made at kosher meat plant
Federal authorities charged that a methamphetamine laboratory was operating at the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse and that employees carried weapons to work.
The charges were among the most explosive details to emerge following the massive raid Monday at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa.
But not to worry, the local Rabbi hastens to add. The meat is still kosher:
Rabbi Moses Weissmandel, the supervising rabbi at Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa, called this morning to categorically refute every allegation made this week by government investigators — except the illegal worker business. “That’s not my department,” Weissmandel said.
What is his department is the rabbinical staff, some 40 rabbis responsible for the actual slaughter of meat and for supervising the plant to make sure everything’s kosher. He claimed his rabbis provide round-the-clock supervision, and that none of the allegations – among them that workers were producing drugs on site, and that rabbis abused the workers with meat hooks – are true.
“I categorically say it’s false, it’s not true, it’s a lie,” Weissmandel said. “I have my rabbis supervising 24/7. We supervise every inch of that place in order to be sure that the place is totally kosher.”
The School System
After the raid, fully half of the school children were absent:
Half of the school system’s 600 students were absent Tuesday, including 90 percent of Hispanic children, because their parents were arrested or in hiding.
In an article mentioning Iowa’s difficulties in coping with English as a Second Language (ESL) students, Edutopia notes:
The influx of English-language learners … into communities across America has created new and unprecedented challenges for administrators and teachers, many already struggling with overcrowded classrooms, dwindling budgets, and strict performance standards for their students. Waves of immigration once limited to large cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are now reaching into … pockets of the heartland, bringing with them children whose needs go beyond language to issues of poverty and lack of stability, often associated with minimum wage or migratory employment.
CityTownInfo reports that Postville has a media family income of $40,125. Sperling’s reports a population of 2,314. If 600 of these are students (and that number only counted the public school population) then there are less than 1700 potential wage-earners to support approximately 300 expensive ESL students. Discounting the illegal immigrants under the radar who do not pay taxes and the stay-at-home moms, one can postulate a very expensive educational burden on the remaining legitimate workers/taxpayers.
Stealing A Small Town
The pain of the original, mostly hard-working Lutheran residents of this small mid-western town cries out from a lost website, hacked off the Internet but still partially available in Google cache:
What Happened To Postville? — Basically some New York Hassidic ‘Flim-Flam’ artists, walked into a small Iowa town, bought off the local politicians, and established a giant slaughterhouse. They quickly flooded the plant with Mexican, Guatemalan, and Chinese immigrants. The Rubashkin Family quickly took control of the town, and now it’s a cross between Krakow, and Mexico.
What Is Agri-Processors? — AgriProcessors bought a old processing plant and converted to a kosher meat processing plant for beef, veal, lamb, chicken and turkey.
Postville’s Only Employer — In 1988, Rubashkin and 300 Hasidic rabbis from the U.S., and Tel Aviv, came to Postville (Pop 1378), and bought a shuttered plant. The Jews despised the locals, started their own school, and refused to mix. Today the town has 2352 residents, and the plant employees 800.
Who Runs Postville — Mayor John P Hymen, and the town council of fellow Hassidics….
Skirting The Law
Trouble with the slaughterhouse is nothing new. The local paper reports:
Postville plant has record of violations, reprimands
The company has a long history of citations and fines from state and local officials for violation of labor, food safety and environmental laws….
Company officials admitted in federal court last year that they knew some employees at distribution centers in Brooklyn, N.Y., were using false Social Security numbers, according to court documents….
In April 2000, up to 40,000 gallons of turkey blood spilled into a stream near Postville. The spill was blamed on a malfunctioning pump….
The list of atrocities and violations is too long to include here, but readers can check the reference for more of this disgusting story. More details of specific violations are given in this article.
Sympathizes Panders To Illegals
The local paper notes that the Archbishop rushed into town to offer support to the illegals seeking sanctuary in St. Bridget Catholic Church in Postville:
Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus will celebrate Mass in English and Spanish at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Postville.
The Postville raid and fedral Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency actions “highlight once again the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” Hanus said earlier in the week. “Families have been disrupted; parents and children are filled with fear. Many are uncertain whether their loved ones will be arrested, imprisoned indefinitely or deported.”….
No mention from the good archbishop of the fact that the reason these people are living in a state of uncertainty and fear is because … HELLO, THEY BROKE THE LAW BY COMING HERE and by using false or stolen documents.
Conflict With The Union
In constant conflict with organized American labor over pay and safety violations, AgriProcessors just lost another round with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union this past January. The premise of the company’s case will crack you up, dear readers. Agriprocessors held that their workers were not eligible to vote to join the union because they were illegals!
It has not been a good week for AgriProcessors, the world’s largest kosher slaughterhouse. …the company recently lost an appeal in federal court and continues to field attacks from the slaughterhouse workers’ union.
Last week, a federal court of appeals rejected AgriProcessors’ claim that workers in a Brooklyn distribution center should not be allowed to unionize because many of them are undocumented aliens. The decision ended a two-year court battle.
Conflicting Enforcement Interests
The United Food and Commercial Workers union (and, as a derivative, federal labor interests) was counting on the testimony of illegal workers at the Postville Agriprocessors plant in its ongoing battle with the company. Labor charged
“that the immigration raid disrupted a separate U.S. Labor Department investigation into alleged child labor law violations and other infractions.”
Liberal Sympathizers Sue The Government
You are going to love this. Three of those arrested (note the names) — Antonin Trinidad Candido, Roman Trinidad Candido and Maria del Refugio Masias — have filed a lawsuit against ICE on behalf of an “unspecific number of detained immigrant workers” courtesy of two law firms located in Omaha, Nebraska, — Peck Law Firm and Dornan and Lustgarten Law Firm PC, LLO. Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) has coverage:
A federal class action lawsuit filed Thursday by immigrants arrested in the Postville raid allege Agriprocessors acquired false identification for workers, along with numerous allegations of abuse from supervisors….
And, from the Peck Law Firm mission statement:
We believe that every person who is pursuing the dream of coming to the United States should be treated with dignity and respect throughout the immigration process.
We seek to create a positive atmosphere where our clients’ hopes and dreams are matched only by our dedication and excitement from success.
We believe that community education on immigration issues is essential to our nation’s understanding that from diversity comes strength….
Note that, even though this is a “law” firm, their approbation tacitly includes illegals.
The Obligatory Protests Begin
The WCF Courier reports:
Dozens protest immigration raid
More than 150 people marched Monday night in a peaceful but raucous protest outside of National Cattle Congress.
For two hours, demonstrators marched, chanted and waved flags along the sidewalk that runs along NCC grounds, where detainees from the immigration raid in Postville were being held.
At times, they turned towards federal agents on the other side of the barbed wire fence to chant slogans like “ICE go home.”….
Note to protestors — you are the illegal invaders, and ICE is OUR law enforcement. How about you go home?
Veronica Retuer-Villagrana, 17, said she was upset because most illegal immigrants stay out of trouble.
“We come here to work, not be criminals,” she said….
Note to Veronica — you have already broken our laws by coming here illegally. What is your definition of criminal?
Left-Biased Media Spin Begins
Today, the left-leaning Washington Post weighed in, typically beginning their coverage with a title criticizing law enforcement and an opening tear-jerker anecdote sympathetically told from the law-breaker’s point of view:
Immigration Raid Jars a Small Town
Critics Say Employers Should Be Targeted
By Spencer S. Hsu | Sunday, May 18, 2008
Antonio Escobedo ran to get his wife Monday when he saw a helicopter circling overhead and immigration agents approaching the meatpacking plant where they both work. The couple hid for hours inside the plant before obtaining refuge in the pews and hall at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, where hundreds of other Guatemalan and Mexican families gathered, hoping to avoid arrest.
“I like my job. I like my work. I like it here in Iowa,” said Escobedo, 38, an illegal immigrant from Yescas, Mexico, who has raised his three children for 11 years in Postville. “Are they mad because I’m working?”….
The WaPo is being egregiously disingenuous. It is a long and difficult process to bring charges against an employer, and costly to the taxpayers. But it is easy to determine whether an individual is in this country legally or not, and so the roundup of illegals is the quickest and most cost-effective way to tackle the problem of illegal immigration short-term.
Describing A “Clash Of Cultures”
The whole sorry drama is spelled out in a book by secular Jew Stephen Bloom, a professor at the University of Iowa. From Publishers Weekly:
Bloom’s account of a vicious clash between the residents of a small, intensely Christian town and the group of Lubavitcher Jews who open a highly successful kosher slaughterhouse there is a model of sociological reportage and personal journalism. In 1987, after a Hasidic butcher from Brooklyn bought a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, and began to relocate Jewish and immigrant workers to the area, the town began to change. While some residents were suspicious and anti-Semitic, most were happy to see the town rise above its previous financial destitution. But the Lubavitchers, who traditionally live and work within their own closely knit communities, were not interested in fitting into Postville, and many were dismissive of, or overtly hostile to, its original citizens. After the Lubavitchers started buying real estate and exerting greater influence on the town’s finances, longtime Postville residents began to feel marginalized, yet their reactions caused the Jews to become more isolationist. The slaughterhouse also caused problems: workers were paid below minimum wage and were uninsured, women workers were sexually harassed and fighting among the (often illegal) immigrant workers escalated. Finally, the town took legal action to gain more control over the slaughterhouse. Bloom, a professor at the University of Iowa, writes cleanly and with great insight and temperance about these events….
Calling this a “clash of cultures” is a bit too kind, and is the viewpoint of a sympathetic apologist. This is really the story of all the things that go wrong when an entire town looks the other way while the laws of our country are broken, due to economic self-interest. Then when their chickens … er, bloody turkeys … come home to roost, they realize too late that they have sacrificed their lovely little mid-western rural American iconic town. Too bad for them. They were willing to ignore the rule of law, and this is what they got.
Final thoughts — after reading the entire list of violations cited in the references included in this article which would, as the saying goes, “gag a maggot” I am left wondering, “Who would eat this meat?”
Last Monday’s raid on the Agriprocessor slaughterhouse unveiled an operatic American illegal immigration drama like no other. One is almost tempted to draft José Plácido Domingo Embil to sing the title role.