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53 Immigrants Held For Ransom in Phoenix, 300 in Raid in Iowa

We talk a lot about illegal immigration around here, but this story really puts a human face on the situation and shows the extent of the problem. It doesn't look good for anyone involved. Arizona authorities recently found 53 illegal immigrants being held prisoners in a Phoenix home by suspected smugglers holding them hostage for more money.

Among the group of rescued immigrants were two 13-year-old girls and a mentally disabled man. There were three women, and the rest were men, according to officials. The group had all had their shoes confiscated and were packed in with very little food or water. It's thought that smugglers wanted an average of $2,500 for the release of each person. To see the huge raid in Iowa,


In Iowa another raid led to the arrest of at least 300 people in a raid on the world's largest kosher meatpacking plant. A US Attorney says the raid on the Agriprocessors Inc. plant in Postville is the largest operation of its kind in Iowa history and required months of planning.

What's the answer to human trafficking? If one commits an illegal act, is being mired further in crime like those being held in Phoenix, part of the bargain? Do we need more full-scale raids like in Iowa? What becomes of the meatpacking plant now that it's down 300 workers?

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stephley stephley 9 years
As we said, we need more humane policies here and in our foreign policy - using people up and sending them away is wicked. I don't want to set myself up as the arbitor of the deserving and the payers, but I know there's a better way to behave toward each other than this. We shrug off the problems of people being exploited financially, worked to ruin, and living in constant fear of arrest because of money - that's just sick and wrong.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think that if American businesses NEED cheaper labor in order to be a part of the global economy, we need to talk about it. There is "exempt" status right now...the ability to be exempt from certain labor laws like madatory lunch hours and overtime. This is usually for salaried people. I think that it is worth exploring different status, like migrant worker status, that would allow employers to protect their profit and stay in the United States...while still treating workers like people and not animals. Until these workers are documented or the employers are no longer enticed to hire people to skirt labor laws, the illegal immigrant "trade" will continue to hurt American communities and abuse the workers that they funnel in.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
More on the subject of being "humane": I have relatives in Indiana. It is general knowledge that the poultry processing plants bring in Mexicans to work for the "permitted" 18 months or whatever it is. They live in squalor to save their money to take home. Because the work is difficult, the workers are generally mostly "used up" in that amount of time. Their hands are banged up and damaged. My understanding is, they have little or no insurance or workers' comp benefits, these are ordinary wear-and-tear issues, not industrial accidents or safety violations. Then they are just returned home in that condition, to make the best of it that they can. If their future earning ability is impaired, oh well, too bad. So how is this more humane than forcing the plants to employ Americans and provide appropriate benefits?
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Stephley, the reason we have a problem with illegal immigration is that we are so charitable and humane. If we didn't, those folks would stay home. I am not aiming this remark at anyone here, but in my "real world" experience, those who want to give to others generally want to define who is "deserving", and want to take other peoples' money for the purpose. Look at all the programs we have already.
stephley stephley 9 years
Geez, a little short of brotherly love here aren't we? The United States actually has plenty - it's just how we choose to distribute it that makes people feel as if we don't have enough. If we had better, more humane policies at home and toward other countries, illegal immigration wouldn't be such an issue and we could be spared having such uncharitable feelings towards others.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
I also thought of Fast Food Nation - it wasn't an amazing story, but it really captured the world that many illegal immigrants are living in. That was the part of the story that intrigued me - the meth addictions to keep up and keep working to get enough hours at a really dangerous job that can almost support a living. And how the employers are not responsible for their accidents or problems, b/c what illegal immigrant is reporting them to authorities? AZ has a new law (Legal Arizona Workers Act) this year that requires investigation into employers that hire illegal immigrants. The law gives the state authority to suspend or revoke the business license of any employer who knowingly hired an illegal immigrant. It just hasn't really been used yet...
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 9 years
Nyrina: Sorry, but a lot of illegals are repeat offenders. Once deported, they just bounce right back. I'm starting to think that we should implant universal alarm chips before deporting them, so that they'll set off the shoplifting alarms in all the stores if they try to return. And don't deport them just over the border, that's too easy. Send them down on a freighter and drop them on the beach in Chiapas. Please vote for my Givenchy Prisme contest entry every day, May 2 - June 16. Thanks! Link at: / 4xy7sx (Remove spaces)
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I think we ought to send them as far away from America as posible. Cape Horn would be a good place to drop them.
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I feel bad that these people were held hostage in this manner. But I still think that if they are illegal then they need to be shipped back home. There aren't enough jobs, money for health care, and alot more, for some of our own people to suvive in a decent manner in the U.S. Others who are illegal should be immediately sent home. After they step off the bus or plane back in their own country, then they should no longer be considered a U.S. problem again.
syako syako 9 years
I noticed at the grocery store this week that all the chicken offered was "all natural" no hormones, etc. etc. Which, to me, is AWESOME! I love that consumer demand can change the status quo. Go consumers!
MindayH MindayH 9 years
You should definitely see Fast Food Nation - if you are choosing to eat fast food, then you should know where your food came from - McDonald's has started to make improvements because more and more people are becoming informed. It is only a step in the right direction for fast food, but maybe others will follow. And maybe help you to make healthier decisions.
stephley stephley 9 years
I'm afraid to see Fast Food Nation because I'm not really a veggie lover and dinner options are getting more limited all the time! I don't think we need to give/find businesses ways to get cheap labor, that's an open invitation to find a group of people to exploit. If we can't do business in a manner that's at least fair for all concerned, we're doing it wrong.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I saw it a couple of weeks before the recent meat recall. That kind of made it stick with me!
Jillness Jillness 9 years
It isn't an amazing movie or anything, but there are some points that it makes that are pretty interesting. It is fiction, not a documentary, but they go into detail about what immigrants go through when businesses play the "coyote" and shepherd them into the US. The people are horribly treated, and the quality of meat suffers. Since the job itself is so dangerous, when they have illegal immigrants, they don't have to follow through on safety concerns for meat or people. It kind of reminded me of stories before the FDA.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
:shrug: Damn. Still learning.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
You know, I spent a weekend in Phoenix and I have to say, it felt like being a hostage. :shrug"
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
I have not seen it, but that is because someone told me it was not worth the time. Should I disregard and watch it?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Has anyone seen Fast Food Nation? (Not Super Size Me...sometimes people get them confused!)
Jillness Jillness 9 years
The thing is that MOST of the meat processing plants in the midwest hire illegal immigrants. In one report I read about this raid, it said that an estimated 700 employees were illegal out of the 1000 that the plant hired! That is 70% of the work force! If the government REALLY wanted to crack down, they would go to these places where they know that huge numbers of immigrants are being overworked, underpaid, and abused. The reason they hire illegal immigrants is so they can ignore labor laws. In many midwestern towns, the meat packing plants used to hire legal workers who then were able to raise families. Now they hire mostly illegal immigrants, which causes the legal workers to leave town in search of work. The illegal immigrants make such small amounts of money, they have to live in poverty and it reduces property value for all (not to mention their living conditions). We REALLY need to have an honest discussion about immigration. These raids every couple months are good PR for the government, but they are really doing nothing. I understand that some of these companies might need cheap labor to stay in business. Perhaps we need to find a legal way for them to use cheap labor.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
There is a plant in WI I'd like to see get raided. 3/4ths of the people only speak spanish.
syako syako 9 years
more raids like this = more fear in employers that they can and will get caught
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Employing 300 illegal immigrants is not so Kosher. They should've known better especially when the authorities know there are high numbers of illegal immigrants residing in these locations.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Reports of the story had conflicting numbers. USA Today said 700, but the NY Times said 300, so I swapped. Whichever number is true, it definitely has an impact on the local economy, The Times story does speak to that. Plus it was a huge kosher meat supplier--the raid stands to hamper that supply too. It's amazing to see how interconnected everything really is.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Phoenix is such a scary shit hole. Seriously, THAT place is the armpit of America, not NJ.
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
What happens now that they are down 700 workers? They hire people who are here legally. Pay them what they should be paid in the first place. You know. Little things like that.
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