Source: Washington Post Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/17/AR2008051702474.html Title: "Immigration Raid Jars a Small Town", by Spencer S. Hsu Date: May 18, 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week raided an Agriprocessors meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, rounding up 389 alleged illegal immigrants. Department of Homeland Security officials say the raid is reflective of the Bush administration's decision to target employers with large numbers of illegal immigrants on the payroll. The raid is said to be the administration's largest crackdown on a single work site. The raid, which netted mostly Guatemalans and Mexicans—as well as four Ukranians and two Israelis—was not without its local critics. Community schools Superintendent David Strudhoff pointed out, "They don't go after employers. They don't put CEOs in jail." He described the incarceration of over 10% of the town's population as being "like a natural disaster", and suggested that the rest of the town and the local workforce will suffer greatly for the loss. One day after the raid, half of the town's six hundred students were absent from school. Ninety percent of the Hispanic student-body was gone. According to the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu, Agriprocessors is a familiar target to federal agencies, having paid $600,000 settlement to the Environmental Protection Agency for wastewater pollution violations, and earlier this year coughed up over $182,000 for state health violations. The Department of Agriculture had a round with Agriprocessors in 2004 regarding slaughter practices, and the company—which is the nation's largest provider of Kosher beef—has faced criticism from some Jewish groups complaining about its labor practices. Indeed, Agriprocessors lost a federal decision last month in its effort to prevent the unionization of workers in Brooklyn, New York. The company had argued that many of the votes in favor of unionization were cast by illegal immigrants who were not entitled to federal labor protections. "Postville will be a ghost town," said a store clerk named Lili. And Stephen G. Bloom, a journalism professor at University of Iowa who has written a book about Postville and Agriprocessors, called the raid a "no-win situation", and noted, "The problem is, who is going to do the work?"