Five people swept up in immigration raids this week at hog operations in Minnesota remained in custody Friday, while three others were released and ordered to appear before an immigration judge.
The eight Guatemalans arrested at Christensen Farms in Sleepy Eye and Appleton were part of a workforce hired by a third-party vendor. According to a federal indictment, the vendor was among 17 people whom authorities said colluded to create an illegal workforce of undocumented workers. Fifteen of the 17 have been arrested.
Raids at the two operations in Minnesota and about a dozen facilities in Nebraska resulted in the arrests of 118 people suspected of immigration violations. Nine people were released without charges because they produced proper documentation.
The raids prompted the ACLU-MN to once again urge Congress to pass immigration reform.
"Every day that goes by means more families are being torn apart," said Julio Zelaya, the ACLU's Greater Minnesota racial justice project coordinator. "Immigrant communities in Minnesota are being targeted in a campaign that seeks to separate families and, in its wake, rattle small rural communities to the ground."
MARY LYNN SMITH