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Jun-19-2009 11:47printcomments

Desktop Raids, a New Policy of Obama Administration comes to Oregon

This week, evidence came to light that a new type of worksite raid has occurred in Oregon.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

(SALEM, Ore.) - An investigation conducted by Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United) PCUN discovered that close to 250 workers were dismissed at a farm in Dalles, Oregon.

According to their report, workers at Maduri Farms were notified in May that they were being terminated due to 'invalid or fraudulent Social Security numbers'.

The procedure is being coined a "Desktop Raid" and appears to be a part of a national trend.

Last week, the LA Times reported that over 200 workers were terminated in a similar way at a major food-processing plant in Vernon, California near Los Angeles. According to the report, more than 200 employees from Overhill Farms were terminated after the owner received a letter from the IRS saying that employees provided 'invalid or fraudulent' Social Security numbers.

Like Overhill Farms, the Maduri Farms owner received a letter from the Federal Government saying that there were discrepancies in social security numbers that workers provided at the time of hiring. The workers were given 30 days to prove that they had legal presence to be able to continue working.

According to news reports, in effort to verify the employee's status, Overhill Farms turned to using the flawed e-Verify system. One worker, Lucia Vasquez, who had a valid Social Security Number and regularized immigration status, still received a termination letter. It is unknown how many workers at these farms or others are experiencing the same nightmare.

Most of terminated workers from Meduri and Overhill have been employed with the companies for years--sometimes up to 20 year or more. Having been loyal, dedicated and hardworking members of the workforce, they kept the companies going daily. Now, they find themselves pushed out with no way to reconcile or to support their families.

Raids on businesses, weather by ICE agents storming a facility or a "desktop" style as we have seen at Meduri and Overhill Farms, come at a serious time for the United States. With the Obama Administration trying to recover the down spiraling economy, the loss of these workers is detrimental to the companies that need them.

"Besides the tragic situation for these families that have lost their livelihood that they need to survive", said Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of CAUSA. "The loss of these workers means a loss of revenue for these businesses and that will not help the U.S. Economy. What we need is real Comprehensive Immigration Reform, not more raids".

The mass termination of these hard working and loyal immigrants calls into question again the larger problem with the immigration policy of the United States. With the Federal Government employing yet another tactic to force businesses to become de facto immigration agents, it is critical more now than ever for Congress and the President to take action and pass fair and human Immigration Reform this year.


Computer 'raid' in Vernon leaves factory workers devastated (LA Times, June 12, 2009),0,783064.story

Fired for Working (New American Media, June 17, 2009)

Related links:

Meduri Farms

Overhill Farms

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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jsut me June 21, 2009 10:03 pm (Pacific time)

we do not need an immigration reform. we have laws on the books, use them. deport, self deport.

Lyneil Sutton-Cross June 21, 2009 10:31 am (Pacific time)

Immigration has enriched America.

Martin June 21, 2009 8:08 am (Pacific time)

When my ancestors reached North America it was not a nation, political unit or anything remotely like that. You had hundreds of tribes, even more factions than that. They were constantly at war with each other, not unlike all other parts of the world. We are all part of this planet and when we evolved enough to recognize ourselves as a political unit, that promulgated the need to craft laws. To protect our borders and who we allow in is what all nations do. Have you seen the immigration laws that countries to the south have? I believe we are a very tolerant people, and a very giving people. During this time when we have a huge population, a high unemployment rate and people who want to kill everyone of us, then enforcing immigration laws is the appropriate action to take. Most polls I have see state that nearly 8 out of ten voters want our immigration laws enforced. Is there a mandate bigger than that one out there?

Henry Ruark June 20, 2009 9:53 am (Pacific time)

Jen et al: But there's serious question re some have already clarified status and been cleared. See story. ALSO there's the little matter of morality involved when U.S. govt. policy promotes and preserves heavy corporate action in Mexico driving many peasants from longheld agricultural action into low-wage employment in factories, now many economically struggling. SO famly members flee here to work, often well-received by employers seeking cheap labor. THEN, too, who cares for the families wrecked and left high and dry for dispossessed workers with long solid records at these companies ? Do we simply let them starve and turn to E/R/hospitals for healthcare ? We helped create situation, and we are on the hook to help remedy it..OR do you deny any and all past complicities from our government ? Policies involved go back at least to Reagan era, some few before that, reflecting some of consquences of Iran/Contra illegal "deal" delegating arms paid for by Congressional funding to Israelis, some cash used by U.S.officers to fund revolts in S. America, with wipeoff effects broadly in Mexico and elsewhere. Things just ain't that easy when nations set upon nations, friend Jen; read your history. Might also check up on how your ancestors reached this nation; laws lacking or more flexible then but many came by what was then "illegal", too ! Mine own, via steerage from Ireland, when Brits snatched best crop lands, among latter. Leader was shipwright, went to work as laborer in Maryland and owned shipyard decades later.

Daniel Johnson June 20, 2009 9:00 am (Pacific time)

Jen: Whatever happened to: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Or is America now "full"?

Jen June 19, 2009 1:33 pm (Pacific time)

Oh boo freakin hoo. If you are illegal, get out, plain and simple! About time the government stepped up their enforcement of the LAW!

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