For immediate release
December 15, 2006
Washington, D.C.) – UNITE HERE International Union condemns in the strongest possible way the recent raids of meatpacking plants and the detention of workers by agents of the Bush Administration’s Department of Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting immigrant workers at the Swift Company.
“Almost everyone agrees that our entire immigration system is screwed up, and that our government records and databases are full of holes. Given that reality, launching riot gear-clad armed agents to terrorize immigrant workers is shocking to the conscience of America,” said John W. Wilhelm, President/Hospitality Industries of UNITE HERE. “In their zeal to sow terror in immigrant communities, we wonder if the Bush Administration plans to sweep up busboys and gardeners next,” Wilhelm continued.
“Newspaper reports of agents herding and segregating workers, locking down workplaces, separating parents from their children, and denying legal or family access to imprisoned workers are tactics unfit for a democratic society,” he continued.
While these raids are going on, the Bush Administration’s DHS is also proposing new restrictive rules to force employers to fire workers whose social security records are in question, notwithstanding the generally agreed reality that the governments’ records are often incomplete or false.
“All of us, native-born and immigrant alike, are victims of a failed immigration system. It’s time for the federal government to stop victimizing workers and reform our immigration system,” said Wilhelm. “Congress failed last year to produce needed comprehensive immigration reform. Worksite raids with armed agents are not the answer to the nationwide call for immigration reform.”
UNITE HERE stands with the UFCW local unions who are working tirelessly to contact family members, protect minor children, and free falsely imprisoned workers.
UNITE HERE represents approximately 450,000 workers in the hospitality, gaming, food service, laundry and garment and manufacturing industries in the United States and Canada.
For more information, contact Amanda Cooper at 212-332-9376 or [email protected].