Lindsay tips me to about the possibility I’ll disappear for no good reason. If that happens, blame the Department of Homeland Security for that. On second thought, I have a German citizenship rather than a Mexican one, so I might get off the hook, but then again this story appears to only distinguish Americans from non-Americans.
[Link] Company and union officials said agents, some dressed in riot gear, locked down six beef- and pork-processing plants early in the morning, segregating workers into groups of citizens and non-citizens after questioning. Some illegal workers were bused to detention facilities hours away, labor officials said.
ICE officials would not say how many people were arrested, pending a news conference today in Washington. About 90 percent of Swift’s 15,000 U.S. employees work in three shifts at the plants, company officials said.
So far, so bad. But it’s not just illegal immigrants who were put on buses and sent to a detention center. TPMmuckraker reports that DHS picked up legal immigrants as well, on the mere suspicion of identity fraud.
[Link] “Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses,” regardless of the immigrants’ legal status, Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UCFW) told me this morning.
Recently unsealed court documents show that DHS had identified 170 identity-fraud suspects it wished to apprehend, but that the agency wanted to round up as many as 5,000 other workers because it “further expect[ed] to apprehend persons who are engaged in large-scale identity theft[.]” Union officials say the total number of detained workers may be higher than 5,000.
It’s not exactly a secret that the United States treats immigrants as second-class citizens. For one, it designates everyone short of permanent resident status as a non-immigrant – i.e. someone who’s expected to get back to his home country after getting a degree or working at a temporary job. But frankly, that’s just a semantic issue that in practice a lot of professionals can get around, especially if they have the correct nationality.
Immigrants are not allowed to strike, which is especially problematic in those professions that can easily use immigrants as scabs. It’s less of a problem at long unionized factories like whatever remains of manufacturing in the rust belt, but it’s hard to organize a strike at a Southwestern factory or a retail outlet or a major research university. Ultimately, this boils down to the robber baron era view of a strike as something borderline illegal, so that it’s alright to deport striking immigrants.
But it gets worse. It’s not just people with the wrong nationality who get in trouble, but also people with the wrong skin color.
[Link] If only for a few minutes, Maria felt like an ”illegal alien” in her homeland – the United States of America.
She thought she was going on break from her job at the Swift & Co. meat processing plant here on Tuesday, but instead she and others were forced to stand in a line by U.S. immigration agents. Non-Latinos and people with lighter skin were plucked out of line and given blue bracelets.
The rest, mostly Latinos with brown skin, waited until they were ”cleared” or arrested by ”la migra,” the popular name in Spanish for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), employees said.
As a soon to be ex-Senator said, “Welcome to America, macaca.” A good American is someone whose skin color is clearly white, or clearly black. There used to be restrictions on nose size and shape, but lately it’s just skin color and eyelid form. If your skin color is brownish or you have a double eyelid, you’re a foreigner and the US has the right to throw you into concentration camps for your own protection. Get on with the program.