UFCW pursues lawsuit over Swift raids

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials were scheduled to appear before Judge L. John Kane in federal court in Denver on Jan. 12 in a follow-up hearing to a civil lawsuit filed by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7. The union filed its suit against the government a day after ICE arrested 260 workers at the Swift & Co. meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado. The Greeley plant was one of six Swift plants in six states raided by ICE on Dec. 12; a total of 1,282 workers were arrested. The lawsuit charges that the raid was illegal; that federal officials violated the constitutional rights of the arrested workers; and that detainees were treated inhumanely while in custody.

At least 66 of the workers arrested at Swift’s Greeley plant were shipped to an ICE jail in El Paso, Texas. Within a few days of the raid, Judge Kane ordered ICE to bring the detainees back to Colorado, and ICE officials told union lawyers they were complying. But court papers filed Jan. 5 revealed that only five detainees were sent back to Colorado, while 61 remain in Texas. (Denver Daily News, Dec. 19; Rocky Mountain News, Dec. 16, Jan. 6; Greeley Tribune, Jan. 12)

From Immigration News Briefs, Jan. 12

See our last post on the immigration crackdown and the Swift raids.