Tuesday, October 21, 2008

INB 10/21/08: South Carolina Poultry Plant Raided

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 25 - October 21, 2008

1. South Carolina Poultry Plant Raided
2. Immigrant Rights Marches in North Carolina and Beyond
3. Protected Status Renewed for Central Americans, Urged for Haitians

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499; weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com; http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. INB is also distributed free via email; contact immigrationnewsbriefs@gmail.com to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at http://immigrationnewsbriefs.blogspot.com.


On Oct. 7, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents executed a federal criminal search warrant at the House of Raeford's Columbia Farms poultry processing plant in Greenville, South Carolina, arresting 11 workers on criminal charges and 320 workers on administrative immigration charges. [ICE News Release 10/9/08] About 100 ICE agents raided the plant during shift change. ICE officials kept the workers inside the plant for most of the morning as they sought to determine how many were present in the US without permission. [AP 10/7/08; Charlotte Observer 10/8/08]

Two women and nine men were transferred to the custody of the US Marshals Service to face charges including re-entry after deportation, aggravated identity theft, counterfeit documents and false statements. The other 121 women and 199 men arrested were processed for deportation; 77 women and six men were released with electronic ankle monitors to await removal hearings. The remaining women were taken to the Atlanta City Detention Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The men were taken to the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. The arrested workers are from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Costa Rica and Hungary.

Six juveniles--three from Mexico and three from Guatemala--were found to be present in the US without permission. ICE released two youths to an authorized caregiver, and said it was working with the Mexican and Guatemalan consulates to reunite the others with their families in their home countries.

The raid was part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the company's employment practices which saw prior criminal charges against nine supervisors, four plant employees and one human resources manager [see INB 9/7/08]. [ICE News Release 10/9/08]


On Oct. 12, about 65 people marched more than three miles from the Mills Manufacturing plant in Woodfin, North Carolina, to downtown Asheville to protest an Aug. 12 ICE raid at the parachute manufacturing plant and the impending deportation of the 57 workers arrested there [see INB 8/16/08]. The march concluded at the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office. Speakers blasted what they said was overzealous or selective law enforcement by local sheriffs, particularly Van Duncan in Buncombe and Rick Davis in Henderson. Activists also criticized Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower, who claimed some responsibility for alerting ICE about unauthorized workers at Mills Manufacturing. A group of about 200 people also marched along US 25 to the Henderson County Courthouse in Hendersonville, North Carolina, in defense of immigrant rights. Nuestro Centro, WNC Workers Center and the Coalition of Latin American Organizations sponsored both marches. [Ashville Citizen Times 10/13/08]

The marches were part of a nationwide day of action on Oct. 12, Indigenous Peoples Day. Other actions took place at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia; in southwest Detroit, Michigan; in San Francisco’s Mission district; at a Wells Fargo bank in the immigrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York City; and in the town of Sodus in upstate New York, just east of Rochester, where ICE raided a trailer park on Sept. 28 [see INB 10/5/08]. Actions also took place in Rochester, New York; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. [Workers World 10/19/08]


On Sept. 24, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it will extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals of El Salvador through Sep. 9, 2010. The extension allows Salvadorans who have already been granted TPS to re-register and maintain their status for an additional 18 months. An estimated 229,000 Salvadorans are eligible for re-registration. They have 90 days to re-register for the special status, which was set to expire on Mar. 9, 2009. TPS does not apply to Salvadoran nationals who entered the US after Feb. 13, 2001. [USCIS Update 9/24/08]

On Sept. 26, USCIS announced it will extend TPS through July 5, 2010, for an estimated 3,500 Nicaraguans and 70,000 Hondurans who are eligible for re-registration; they have 60 days to re-register. Their status was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2009. TPS does not apply to Nicaraguans or Hondurans who entered the US after Dec. 30, 1998. [USCIS Update (Nicaraguans) 9/26/08, USCIS Update (Hondurans) 9/26/08]

About 100 people held a candlelight vigil on Oct. 3 in front of the Paul G. Rogers Federal Building in West Palm Beach, Florida to advocate for temporary protected status for Haitians, whose homeland has been devastated by four major tropical storms since August. [Houston Chronicle 10/4/08] "I just don't know how dire conditions have to become before the US government is willing to grant Haiti this long-merited assistance," said US Rep. Alcee Hastings, Democrat of Miramar, one of 31 members of Congress actively urging the government to grant TPS for Haitians. ICE temporarily stopped deporting Haitians in September, but the suspension could end at any moment, and it doesn't allow out-of-status immigrants from Haiti to work legally. On Oct. 3, pushed by local activists, Haitian President René Préval made his first public request for TPS since the recent storms. [South Florida Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) 10/13/08]


Contributions toward Immigration News Briefs are gladly accepted: they should be made payable and sent to Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012. (Tax-deductible contributions of $50 or more may be made payable to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and earmarked for "NSN".)

ORDER "The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers," (2007, Monthly Review Press) by the editors of Immigration News Briefs and Weekly News Update on the Americas--for details see publisher website: http://monthlyreview.org/politicsofimmigration.htm
book website: http://thepoliticsofimmigration.org
authors' blog: http://thepoliticsofimmigration.blogspot.com
or email the authors at thepoliticsofimmigration@gmail.com

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