Sunday, May 25, 2008

Raided meatpacker was repeatedly notified that workers were using bogus Social Security numbers

"The politically-connected meatpacking company where almost 400 undocumented workers were arrested earlier this month ignored repeated government warnings about the use of false identification papers amongst its employees," according to an affadavit by a federal agent, Lynda Waddington reports for the online Iowa Independent.

The agent swore that Agriprocessors Inc. "received a dozen letters from the Social Security Administration in 2005 and 2006," Waddington writes. "The letters stated that up to 78 percent of the businesses' workforce provided Social Security information that did not match with government records." Immigration agent David Hoagland said, "Agriprocessors has repeatedly been made aware that large numbers of its employees were using Social Security numbers that have discrepancies for each tax year from 2000 to 2005."

Waddington's story details the many political contributions made by owners of the plant in Postville, Iowa. It remains to be seen whether they will face criminal prosecution, as more than 300 workers at the plant have. At a forum sponsored by La Prensa, a Spanish-language paper in western Iowa, immigration lawyer Jo Ann Barten predicted similar raids, perhaps soon, reports the Independent's Doug Burns. He and LaPrensa Editor Lorena Lopez collaborated on a story for her paper about the raid. To read it, click here.

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