Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Postville Boss Gets Out of Jail. What About His Immigrant Workers?

Didn't Postville workers' families suffer too? Photo:  Stephen Mally/NY Times
On December 20 President Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of former kosher meatpacking magnate Sholom Rubashkin for bank fraud. Rubashkin had headed the Agriprocessors Inc. company, whose plant in Postville, Iowa, was the scene of a massive military-style workplace raid in May 2008. Federal agents arrested 389 immigrant workers, including 18 ranging in age from 13 to 17; most of the detained workers spent five months in prison on charges related to their immigration status and were then deported. The raid took place as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) was trying to organize the plant.

Rubashkin had a number of prominent supporters, including more than 30 current members of Congress from both mainstream parties. His backers noted that Rubashkin’s sentence was exceptionally severe, raising suspicions that it was influenced by his ethnic background—he’s a member of the Jewish Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch group. They also stressed his close relationship with an autistic son. There are certainly reasons to question the length of Rubashkin’s sentence, but we have to wonder why so little is said about his mostly Latino former employees, who were subjected to multiple labor violations at the plant and then jailed and exiled for the supposed crime of working to support themselves and their families. And what about the suffering of their children? As for Rubashkin’s sympathizers in Congress, they can take the time to write letters supporting commutation of one man’s prison sentence but apparently can’t be bothered to pass legislation for nearly 700,000 current DACA recipients, who are now losing their protection from deportation at a rate of 122 each day.—TPOI editor

President Commutes Sentence of Iowa Meatpacking Executive

By Mitch Smith, New York Times
December 20, 2017
President Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, whose Iowa meatpacking plant was the target of a huge immigration raid in 2008, and whose 27-year prison sentence angered many Orthodox Jews.

Mr. Rubashkin made national headlines nine years ago after federal agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained nearly 400 undocumented immigrants, including several children, who were working there. Mr. Rubashkin was the company’s chief executive, and the plant had been the largest kosher meatpacking operation in the country. He was later convicted of bank fraud in federal court.[…]

Read the full article:

Republicans are misleading everyone — including themselves — about how long they have to fix DACA
How the DACA deadline actually works — and why Trump and Congress can’t just punt on it.

By Dara Lind, Vox
December 20, 2017
Congress is moving to clear off most of its urgent business before leaving for the holidays, with one exception: a bill that would address the 690,000 unauthorized immigrants protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

GOP leadership has refused to concede it was a priority. And Democrats — for whom a DACA fix once seemed important enough to withhold votes on key spending bills, potentially risking a government shutdown on Friday — appear to be backing down.

So if DACA doesn’t need to be taken care of now, when does Congress need to act on it?[...]

Read the full article:

No comments: