Workers at Swift & Co. plants sued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, charging that their rights were violated during massive nationwide raids last December and seeking an end to such actions, reports the Dallas Morning News. The suit by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union seeks to prevent federal immigration agents from conducting mass detentions of all workers in what’s commonly known as a worksite raid, or redada. “This is not Iran or North Korea where police have the authority to engage in mass detentions of innocent people in order to find a handful of guilty people,” said Peter Schey, the union’s lead counsel and veteran lawyer on constitutional and immigration issues. “That is not how modern democracy functions.”
The current wave of worksite arrests has more than tripled from two years ago. Worksite arrests of those charged with criminal offenses is four times higher over the same two-year time frame. Sonia Mendoza, 30, a worker at one searched plant, said the raids by armed agents “seemed like a terrorist attack.” She said the agents “never showed us IDs that they were ICE agents or government agents.” An ICE spokesman said the “worksite enforcement operation at six Swift plants was conducted lawfully and in full accordance with ICE policies and procedures.” The raids culminated n charges against 274 workers for federal or state identity fraud or other criminal violations. ICE has deported more than 220,000 illegal immigrants in the first 10 months of this fiscal year. That represents a doubling in removals since 2001.