FEBRUARY 07, 2011
Sending dozens of illegal immigrants to jail for using stolen identities to work is a “travesty,” according to the Clinton-appointed federal judge who reluctantly approved the plea agreements of Mexican and Guatemalan employees arrested during a raid at an Iowa meatpacking plant.The 2008 case received national media coverage because hundreds of suspected illegal aliens were apprehended during a massive federal raid at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, Agriprocessing Co. Many used fake identities and stolen Social Security numbers to work at the facility in the northeast Iowa community of Postville and dozens were criminally charged.Now the judge who presided over the case, Mark Bennett, is publicly chastising prosecutors for pressuring the illegal immigrants into agreeing to five-month prison sentences by pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Appearing in the documentary (Abused: The Postville Raid) of a leftwing Guatemalan “filmmaker,” Bennett calls the legal proceedings a “travesty” that made him “embarrassed” to be a United States District Court judge.The film depicts the law breakers as victims who were left “humiliated” and whose families were “torn apart” by the evil U.S. government. It also asserts that, as a result of the federal immigration raid, a small Iowa community of “great diversity was left in ruin” because many of the “undocumented workers” got deported.The judge’s comments in the film were first reported by a Des Moines newspaperthat says he only sentenced 57 of the 389 arrested in the raid. Never the less, Bennett found the plea agreements to be “personally and professionally offensive” as well as a “tragedy.” He also said the illegal immigrants deserved “mercy” and “compassion” because they didn’t have criminal histories.Many Americans probably thought the illegal immigrants got off way too easy. After all, they were charged with using false identification documents to obtain employment, using fake or stolen Social Security numbers and unlawful entry into the United States. Those whose identities were stolen likely thought the five-month sentence was indeed a “travesty.”
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