As you read this Des Moines Register piece, keep in mind what is missing –
– mention of the person who really broke the story.
Evidence shows Agriprocessors officials helped falsify workers' documents
BY TONY LEYS
JULY 27, 2008
Postville, Ia. – Federal agents who raided the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant here in May found evidence that the company’s human-resources department helped provide false immigration documents to its workers, court papers say.
The agents said they found stacks of fraudulent resident-alien cards in the human-resources department. Most of the cards, also known as green cards, appeared to have been made by the same forger, the court papers say.
The green cards were discovered during the May 12 raid at Agriprocessors, in which 389 workers were arrested. Most of the workers were charged with using false identities to obtain jobs.
Prosecutors filed the court papers this month to support criminal charges against an Agriprocessors supervisor, Juan Guerrero-Espinoza, who oversaw the beef kill department. He and another supervisor were charged with aiding the use of fraudulent identity documents and encouraging aliens to reside illegally in the United States. Guerrero-Espinoza also faces one count of aiding and abetting identity theft.
The plant’s owners and top executives have not been charged in the case, but court documents indicate a federal grand jury continues to look into the matter.
Immigration agents said in court papers that several former plant workers who were in the United States illegally said Guerrero-Espinoza told them that if they gave him $200 to $220 and a photograph of themselves, he would provide them with resident-alien cards. The workers also told authorities that a human-resources employee, identified as “Subject A,” also was involved in procuring the false cards.
Agents searched the human-resources department and found dozens of forged resident-alien cards, court papers say. Some of them were attached to application paperwork, but others were in stacks.
Workers told investigators that the human-resources employee handed them their fraudulent immigration cards. Workers also told investigators that plant supervisors, including Guerrero-Espinoza, were in a rush to get immigration papers for workers because they feared the plant would be raided.
A spokesman for Agriprocessors said Saturday that the company is not commenting on any matters that are part of the federal investigation. He said that the company is cooperating with the investigation, and that it is working to comply with all regulations.
Who really broke the story?
Jeff Abbas of Postville Radio, who shared it with me Thursday.
The Des Moines Register has done great reporting on the raid and its aftermath. But they have also occasionally "borrowed" from Abbas, myself and other smalltimers. I don't think any of us would mind, as long as the Register and other large media would have the decency to acknowledge what they borrow.