When immigration agents visited six Swift meatpacking plants around the country last week, they made 19 arrests. One of those arrests was of Chris Lamb, an Iowa human resources employee who’s being charged with harboring illegal immigrants. Makes you wonder if, seven months after Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested more than 1,200 Swift workers for using stolen IDs, the company’s insistence that it was oblivious to the fraud might hit a wall. At least, that’s what the local attorneys suing Swift on behalf of former workers are hoping.
“Swift meatpacking suffered another blow to its continued pattern and practice of denying allegations that its management knowingly hired illegal immigrants,”Angel Reyes wrote on his firm’s Web site after the July 12 arrests. The firm is handling a federal racketeering case alleging the company deliberately hired illegal immigrant workers to depress wages, as well as a wrongful termination lawsuit set for trial in district court in September. “Chris Lamb’s deposition will enlighten all of us to Swift's hiring practices, unless he takes the fifth. We’ll see soon enough.”
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Either way, the recent raids suggest the government hasn’t dropped its investigation into the company, which Dallas investment firm HM Capital Partners recently washed its hands of. Probably a good move. --Megan Feldman