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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Immigration cruelty is at an all time high

Joan Picard Bleidorn, Shorewood

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Immigration cruelty is at an all time high in the recent May 12, raid at Agriprocessor, a meat-packing plant in Postville,
Iowa.  389 undocumented workers, mostly from Guatemala, some as young as 13, were swept up by some 900 ICE
agents,  arrested, shackled, and chained together in groups of ten, and taken to a makeshift court in a cattle corral, where
they were pressured into pleading guilty to knowingly using a false social security number.  While they had only the papers
provided to them when they began work at Agriprocessor, these desperately poor and mostly illiterate workers, were
manipulated into believing that pleading guilty was the quickest way back to their dependent families in Guatemala, through
a "fast-track" Plea Agreement which allowed for no changes.  Without understanding what it was they were pleading guilty
to, and no understanding of immigration laws, the frightened workers waived their constitutional rights, and having pled
guilty, were then taken away to serve a five-month sentence, followed by deportation. It is the Agriprocessor mangers who
should be prosecuted and made to serve prison sentences for labor law abuses, fraud, and human rights violations.  The
immigration system is definitely  broken.

Yours truly,

Joan Picard Bleidorn