- Posted May 15, 2008 by
Immigration Raid - Agriprocessors, Inc in Postville, Iowa
LAST UPDATED: May 17, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) executed two search warrants today at the Agriprocessors, Inc. plant (the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the United States) in Postville, Iowa. The search warrants were for evidence of aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers, people illegally in the United States and other crimes. 390 people were detained. Of the original 390 detainees 314 were males and 76 were female. 12 of the detainees were juveniles. 290 are Guatemalans, 93 are Mexicans and the rest are Israelis and Ukrainians.
56 of the detainees were under supervised release. They were released for humanitarian reasons. (women with kids and the father was also detained, juveniles, etc.) The rest were transported 80 miles southwest to the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo, Iowa for processing and their initial appearance in U.S. District Court.
ICE leased almost the entire fair grounds from the beginning of May until May 25th under the premise that they were going to conduct training exercises. In preparation for the detainees they turned the main auditorium into a processing center, Estell exhibit hall into a detention center including portable heating and air conditioning, toilets and showers. The female detainees are reported to be being held in an area county jail.
The first protester was retired University of Northern Iowa (in adjoining Cedar Falls, Iowa) Rosa Maria de Findlay who expressed her concern on how much the operation was going to cost while pointing out an ICE motor home with a satellite dish on top and explaining she has an older motor home that cost $30,000. Later in the evening de Findlay was joined by approximately 100 protesters.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Matt M. Dummermuth said, "Based on the number of those administratively arrested, this is the largest single-site enforcement operation of its kind ever in the United States."
The U.S. District Court temporarily relocated some of its judges and personnel from the federal courthouses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Sioux City, Iowa to a make-shift courtroom in the Electric Park Ballroom on the National Cattle Congress grounds. Court is held on the dance floor of the ballroom. Detainees waiting for the court appearance are separated from the courtroom by black curtains. The judge’s bench sits on a riser above the dance floor. The United States District Court Northern District of Iowa shield hangs behind him and the American flag is to his right. The attorneys have leather chairs and wooden tables. There are computers available to the judge, attorneys and court staff.
The Electric Park Ballroom was built in 1934 and has hosted Jimmy Dorsey, Glen Miller, and Guy Lombardo, Conway Twitty, The Everly Brothers, Dion, Johnny & The Hurricanes and the annual 4th Street Cruise 50's 60's Sockhop which is scheduled for May 24. A map of the National Cattle Congress Grounds can be found at http://www.nationalcattlecongress.com/ncc_bldg/ncc_bldg_layout.asp
Initial Appearances started today and are scheduled to end on Thursday, May 15. Each group contains about ten detainees. Immediately after being charged the prisoners are turned over to the custody of the U. S. Marshals Service. They are then transported to county jails in the surrounding area.
The first group to appear for their Initial Appearance was a group of nine males. All were shackled and most walked in with the heads down. Some looked around as they walked across the floor to their chairs. Due to the language barrier an interpreter is used to make sure everyone understands the proceedings. There was a question if one detainee was a juvenile. Because it could not be proven he was a juvenile since the ID he gave agents said he was twenty years old the judge kept him in custody.
125 detainees had been charged criminally. With more detainees expected to be charged in the coming days.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
By the Numbers (As of May 15, 2008)
697 – Number of criminal complaints Immigration and Customs Enforcement had lined-up before the operation.
390 - Original detainees after ICE operation.
304 - Detainees that had Initial Appearances.
072 - Detainees that where not part of the 697 original criminal complaints.
005 – Number of detainees charged with Illegal Re-entry after Deportation.
076 – Number of detainees charged with Document Fraud.
225 – Number of detainees charged with Misuse of Social Security Numbers.
231 – Number of detainees charged with Aggravated Identity Theft.
000 – Number of people charged with Harboring Illegal Aliens.
000 – Number of people charged with Engaging in a Pattern or Practice of Hiring and Continuing to Employ Undocumented Aliens.
80% - Reported percentage of Agriprocessors' 969 workers that did not show up for work Tuesday, May 13th, the day after the ICE operation.
Status and Plea hearings are set to start Monday, May 19th and go until Friday, May 23rd. Any inmates that want to plead guilty will be sentenced at that time too.
No supervisory or management staff at Agriprocessors, Inc. has been charged with any crime at this point.
The eleven photos show the detainee transport buses waiting in line to go to the detention, the ICE agents outside the detention center ( a friendly bunch once they saw me (see note below)), the first protester, protesters walking to the rally, the protest rally, the barricaded east end of the bike trail, an upset gentleman asking the ICE agents about the bike trail and the west end of the bike trail being closed after they figured out that was the way I was getting behind the fair grounds.
The first day of the operation I walked about 1/2 mile on a bike trail that runs adjacent to and behind the Cattle Congress grounds to shoot photographs. The second time I walked to the bike trail and was taking photos I was asked to leave by ICE officials and the bike trail was subsequently closed by the City of Waterloo. :(
2008_05_17 0110 CDT
Links to the search warrant affidavit:
(All are .pdf files)
*Search Warrant Affidavit Part One -
*Search Warrant Affidavit Part Two -
*Search Warrant Affidavit Part Three -