Iowa Town Feels Effects of Immigration Raids

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

The Swift & Company meat packing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, pictured in Dec. 2006. i i

The Swift & Company meat packing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, pictured in Dec. 2006. Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images
The Swift & Company meat packing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, pictured in Dec. 2006.

The Swift & Company meat packing plant in Marshalltown, Iowa, pictured in Dec. 2006.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

In 2006, the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids on six Swift & Company meat packing plants around the country, arresting nearly 1,300 people in the largest-ever workplace crackdown on illegal immigration.

One of the plants was located in Marshalltown, Iowa, where the Swift & Company packing plant is the small city's largest employer.

One year later, an ICE official, the mayor of Marshalltown, and other guests discuss the effects the raid has had on the community.

Guests:

Jerry Perkins, farm editor for The Des Moines Register

Martha Garcia, realtor in Marshalltown, Iowa

Marcy Forman, director of investigations for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Dept. of Homeland Security

Gene Beach, mayor of Marshalltown, Iowa

Iowa Town Feels Impact of Immigration Debate

The Candidates on Immigration

Read a breakdown of presidential candidates' votes and positions on some of the main immigration legislation in recent years.

Iowa voters hold the nation's first presidential caucuses one month from now. A visit to Marshalltown, Iowa, shows the impact of immigration — one of the key issues in the presidential campaign — on everyday lives.

The Swift and Co. packing plant, the small city's biggest employer, attracts immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere. Last December, federal immigration agents moved in and many undocumented workers were deported.

Others were convicted of identity theft. They'd gone to work using other people's names and Social Security numbers.

The company itself has not been prosecuted. But a federal grand jury has since indicted an American who allegedly advised the workers how to evade authorities.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.