DECEMBER 20, 2006
A huge meatpacking company recently busted in a federal raid for hiring illegal immigrants is being sued by former employees who claim owners conspired to keep wages down by hiring lower-paid, undocumented workers.
Filed in Texas by 18 U.S. citizens who once worked for Swift & Co, the lawsuit claims that company executives actively sought to locate illegal immigrants and hire them, knowing full well that it violated the immigration laws of the United States. The suit also accuses the national meatpacker of transporting, smuggling, harboring and concealing illegal immigrants.
The former employees claim in their suit that Swift & Co., a multi billion-dollar operation with plants nationwide, repeatedly violated a federal racketeering law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) by consistently engaging in an enterprise that affected commerce.
Last week 1,300 illegal immigrants were arrested in the federal raid of six Swift meatpacking plants in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota. The 18 people suing the company worked in the Cactus Texas plant where nearly 300 illegal immigrants were arrested in the recent raids.
The plaintiffs say that when the Swift plant opened in Cactus, hourly wages were approximately $20 but dropped to about $12 because illegal immigration has fueled the depression in wages. The lawsuit demands $23 million from the company.
Perhaps these kinds of consequences will motivate companies to stop violating federal law by hiring illegal immigrants. Earlier this month, federal authorities criminally charged and fined ($5 million) a multi billion-dollar fencing company in Southern California for knowingly hiring hundreds of illegal aliens over the years.
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