Human Rights Organization Denounces Egregious Workplace Immigration Raids in Six Meatpacking Plants

AFSC - New England Regional Office Calls into Question Motives for Conducting Wide-scale Raids that Divide Families and Criminalize the Right to Work


Contact: Gabriel Camacho, Project Voice Regional Coordinator, (617) 661-6130 ext. 115, gcamacho@afsc.org

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The New England Regional office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) expresses deep concern that the immigration sweeps which recently took place in six Swift & Company meatpacking plants in six states represent an egregious attack on the right to work, and whose sole effect serves to stir up unfounded negative sentiments towards migrants and divide working-class families and migrant communities. Furthermore, some press reports indicate that less than 5% of those detained were charged with identity theft raising serious questions about the use of identity theft as a principle motive behind the raids.

"While identity theft is a real concern with devastating effects for many people in the US, including migrants, the Department of Homeland Security is purposefully attempting to manipulate public perception by using scare tactics that distract the general public from flagrant civil rights abuses that took place in the ICE-conducted raids," stated Gabriel Camacho, regional coordinatior of AFSC's Project Voice. "The "war against illegal immigration,' as described by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in reference to these raids, symbolized by the military-style tactics used in raiding the meatpacking plants, amounts to a war against working families that terrorizes migrant communities who are trying to make ends meet."

The AFSC San Diego office documented at least one case in San Diego County, in the town of Fallbrook, where ICE agents used the excuse of identity theft to conduct a home raid where serious civil rights violations took place. In September 2006, ICE agents entered the home of a migrant family pointing weapons at the residents using the pretext that they wanted to investigate the misuse of credit cards and other documents. The home raid resulted in the deportation of family members. As a result, two minors in the United States now must deal with not having their parents to support them.

The AFSC expresses solidarity with the working families affected by the raids, especially those that now must deal with the complications associated with family separation. The AFSC also cautions that ulterior motives for DHS-ICE raids have less to do about protecting the identity of US Citizens and Residents, and more to do with swaying public perception towards acceptance of diminished rights for working families.

The American Friends Service Committee supports the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their immigration status. AFSC's Project VOICE works to uplift migrant voices and strengthen efforts of migrant-led organizations to set an agenda for fair and human national public policies.

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The American Friends Service Committee is Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice a, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.

Gabriel Camacho
Project Voice Regional Coordinator
American Friends Service Committee
New England Regional Office
2161 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02140

Phone (617) 661-6130 ext. 115
fax (617) 354-2832