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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Packing plant raids point to ineffective law

Swift & Co.’s official reaction to the federal raids on six of its packing plants points to the hiring of illegal workers being akin to a national charade.

President and CEO Sam Rovit said the company has never knowingly hired illegal workers and does not condone the practice.

Yet when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents told Swift it would remove its illegal workers, the company went to federal court to prevent the raids.

The reason was that the raids would remove up to 40 percent of its 13,000 workers and basically shut down its beef-processing lines.

Swift wasn’t charged because it fell back on an ineffective law by which companies confirm if Social Security numbers are valid. If the numbers get clearance, companies consider they have done their part to screen workers.

The raids came after ICE spent 10 months investigating illegal immigrants buying or stealing other people’s identities to secure U.S. jobs.

Perhaps it is a rule of thumb in the meat packing industry that “up to 40 percent” of processing jobs go to illegal immigrants. Or did the company have better information on which it based the request for an injunction?

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