Union: Federal immigration raids increasingly militant | VailDaily.com

Union: Federal immigration raids increasingly militant

Oskar GarciaAssociated PressVail, CO Colorado

OMAHA, Neb. The president of a food workers union is calling for congressional hearings into tactics used by federal officials during workplace immigration raids last year.Top union officials gathered on Thursday with Swift & Co. workers from five states whose plants were raided in December by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.No water, no food for hours standing up there together. Worse than the animals that are sacrificed there every day, said Delphina Arias, a Swift worker at the Cactus, Texas, plant. It was depressing as a U.S. citizen and as a human being.Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, said the union will start holding hearings around the county to catalog workers experiences during the raids.Hansen said the workers rights are under attack and that the union will defend them.At gunpoint, more than 12,000 workers were herded together and systematically stripped of their rights, Hansen said. Workers were denied access to telephones, to bathrooms and legal counsel.ICE spokesman Tim Counts said the actions taken by ICE agents and officers were fully within the law.All rights were respected, due process was given to everyone, and these allegations are baseless, he said.These were criminal search warrants which gave us the legal authority to enter the plant, search the plant and question every single individual in the plant.The union said it was planning to file a federal lawsuit against ICE for what it called military tactics that violated the workers Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure.Work is not a crime. Workers are not criminals. We do not leave our constitutional rights at the plant gate, Hansen said.The December raids included a plant in Greeley, Colo.

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