Wednesday, June 13, 2007

FL-Based Del Monte Says 'no comment' on worker arrests in Oregon

A federal raid on a large North Portland food processing plant Tuesday [June 12] ended in the arrests of 167 workers, intensifying Oregon's immigration debate, tearing apart families, unnerving employers and sparking new calls for U.S. leaders to rewrite the nation's immigration laws.
An estimated 160 federal agents swept into Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. and the firm that supplied its workers, American Staffing Resources, arresting three managers and locking up most of the arrested workers in a federal detention facility, where they face possible deportation.
An official at Fresh Del Monte Produce headquarters in Coral Gables, Fla., said he could not comment until federal investigators provided the company with more information.

Jim Ludwick, president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the number of Fresh Del Monte workers alleged to have fake documents shows how poorly the United States enforces its immigration laws.
"This is what happens when companies are not held responsible for their hiring actions," Ludwick said, adding that an endless supply of illegal workers helps companies such as Fresh Del Monte "keep wages low and working conditions poor."

CAUSA, Oregon’s statewide immigrant rights coalition, and community leaders held a press conference to discuss the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid at the Fresh Del Monte Produce fruit and vegetable processing plant in North Portland. They called for a moratorium on all U.S. ICE workplace raids and for the U.S. Congress and the President to pass comprehensive and humane reform solutions.

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