A judge in Colorado has ordered ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to provide information as to where the victims of the Swift raids are being detained. He ordered ICE to provide details about the detainees to the lawyers who are representing them. Let us hope due process is restored in these cases, especially since the raids were less about crime than about union busting. ICE targeted plants that were unionized.


Judge orders ICE to provide specifics on Swift detainees

A federal judge ordered immigration officials Friday to provide the names and whereabouts of at least 260 immigrant workers arrested during a raid at Greeley’s Swift & Co. meatpacking plant.

U.S. District Judge John L. Kane also warned lawyers representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he is scrutinizing how they handled the detainees.

During a court hearing Friday in Denver, Kane ordered government lawyers to give details on detainees to lawyers representing workers.

In response to allegations that ICE agents denied detainees their due-process rights and coerced them to sign voluntary deportation orders after the Dec. 12 sweep, Kane ordered ICE to hold bond hearings within 48 hours for any jailed Swift workers who had not yet had such a hearing.

Kane also ordered ICE not to deport Swift detainees who had signed papers agreeing to leave the country and giving up legal rights, and to withdraw those orders if the detainees want.

Also Friday, Kane denied a motion by government lawyers to dismiss a lawsuit filed by United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 7 on behalf of all workers arrested in Greeley. The union, which represents Swift workers, contends ICE abused its powers during and after the roundup. The union has filed similar suits in other cities where ICE arrested Swift workers.
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Kane complained about confusion over the identities and whereabouts of the Swift detainees. John Bowen, general counsel for Local 7, said he and government lawyers agreed to exchange lists within the next few days.

“The judge is going to watch and ensure that the government is going to those steps necessary to protect the rights of those they’ve taken into custody,” Bowen said after the court hearing.

Bowen said he doesn’t know how many workers would be affected by the judge’s order for bond hearings.

Of the 260-plus workers arrested in Greeley, at least 80 are still in ICE jails, Bowen said. Seventy-five were sent back to Mexico the night of the raid, and dozens have since posted bail, pending deportation hearings.

Bowen said more than 20 Swift workers remain jailed in the Aurora immigration detention facility and about 61 are being held in an ICE jail in El Paso, Texas.