UPDATED 9:30PM EST: BREAKING: Agriprocessors Raided By US Immigration Police, 300 Estimated Arrested


rubashkin.gif[UPDATED BELOW] According to The Des Moines Register, US Immigration officials are currently raiding the nations largest Kosher meat-packaging plant, Agriprocessors Inc., located in Postville, Iowa. Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday issued criminal search warrants for aggravated identify theft and fraudulent Social Security numbers.

Agency spokesman Tim Counts told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that civil search warrants also were issued for illegal immigrants, and agents and medical professionals are evaluating those who have been arrested.

Immigration officials told aides to U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley that they expect 600 to 700 arrests. About 1,000 to 1,500 people work at the plant, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Earlier this morning, a helicopter hovered over the scene, and a number of agents formed a perimeter around the Agriprocessors facility. Vehicles from ICE and at least eight cars and vans from the Iowa State Patrol were at the plant. There were also reports of two moving vans at the scene, along with an ambulance and two black Chevrolet Suburbans. Additionally, four Homeland Security buses with U.S. Immigration and Customs tags on them have entered the Agriprocessors Inc. complex.

Further details will be posted by YWN as soon as an official statement is issued.

UPDATE 5:25PM EST: The Des Moines Register now reports that there have been 300 arrests. Additionally, they are quoting a special agent with US customs who claims that this was the largest raid of its kind in Iowa.

UPDATE 9:00PM EST: [Click HERE for video] The following information was released by the US Department of Justice, and the US Customs Enforcement:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents executed a criminal search warrant this morning at Agriprocessors, Inc., in Postville, Iowa, for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, as well as a civil search warrant for people illegally in the United States. The announcement was made by United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Matt M. Dummermuth and ICE Special Agent in Charge Claude Arnold.

“This is not the first time this office has been a part of a criminal worksite enforcement operation,” said Dummermuth. “However, this is the largest operation of its type ever in Iowa. Agents and officers from federal, state, and local agencies are involved today. The coordination and logistical planning efforts have been going on for months.”

“ICE is committed to enforcing the nation’s immigration laws in the workplace to maintain the integrity of the immigration system,” said Claude Arnold, Special Agent in Charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Bloomington, Minnesota. “We carry out that obligation in a fair and responsible manner, ensuring humanitarian needs are taken into consideration.

Anyone encountered during this operation who is discovered to be in the United States illegally eventually will be placed into administrative removal proceedings. So far, ICE agents have arrested more than 300 individuals for administrative immigration violations.

All of those taken into custody during today’s operation will be interviewed by ICE agents and Public Health Service officers to determine if they have health, caregiver, or other humanitarian concerns. As a result of those interviews, over 40 individuals have so far been released on humanitarian grounds under supervision, pending future immigration proceedings.

ICE has established a toll-free number that family members can call to obtain information about the custody status and detention location of those detained today. That number is 866-341-3858.
Contacts were made this morning to alert local schools, government officials and the Iowa Department of Human Services about the operation.

The men apprehended today initially will be held in housing established for their detention at Estel Hall, in Waterloo, Iowa; women initially will be held at local county jails.

The investigation is being led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Other agencies assisting today include the United States Marshals Service; United States Postal Inspections Service; Iowa Department of Public Safety; Iowa Department of Transportation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Federal Protective Service; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; United States Department of Labor; Public Health Service; United States Department of Agriculture; United States Environmental Protection Agency; Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Drug Enforcement Administration; Waterloo Police Department; and the Postville Police Department.


  1. How do they decide which illegal immigrants to arrest? It makes no sense – they just rade a company based on there mood? The whole country is running on these Mexicans – either its illegal for everyone or no one – doesn’t seem fair to me

  2. Somehow I see here the work of the רשעים of an organization like P.E.T.A. or the Humane Society. They would like nothing better than closing down שחיטה in this country. And if they can’t do it by “humane” slaughter legislation, there’s nothing like a well-placed “tip” to the Homeland Security folks of illegals operating at a meat processor.

  3. #5 while you maybe right that they were tipped off, it should teach companies a lesson that hiring illegals will not pay in the long run. Hopefully they will learn a lesson and hire legal residents and pay slightly higher wages and take slightly less profits and not pass on the increase to the consumer.

  4. You think PETA did this? This has nothing to do with shutting down Shichita, but all to do with hiring illegals.

    Stop yelling “anti-Semite” every time a Frum guy gets caught doing something wrong.

  5. as far as production is concernred, most of rubashkin’s meat is shechthed, butchered, and packaged in uruguay (as is meal mart/alee and international; i assume they use the same plant, but who knows?) except for ofot — chickens and turkey.

    as far as illegals are concerened, did they raid purdue, ibp, tyson, and many others. the meat slaughter business is all illegals!

  6. I don’t think this is Loshon Horah. They all have bogus S.S. # I am not sure if the owner MUST verify his papers. The boses can always play dumb and say he had no clue.

  7. MiMedinat HaYam – Most of Rubashkin’s meat is from the US. Yes, they do bring in meat from South America, but far from the majority. So this is a BIG problem for them.

    And yes, the Feds do raid all the other meat companies…

  8. Maybe it was the Anti-Semites. Maybe PETA. Maybe the media. Maybe the guyyim.

    Maybe, just maybe … we should simply OBEY THE LAW and stop crying like a victim.

    Anti-Semiticism doesn’t necessarily come out of nowhere. Maybe we need to take stock of our actions and start being that Light Unto the Nations I am always reading about.

  9. If indeed some individual or group was responsible for prompting this raid, then how can you be sure it was not Rubashkin’s competitors in the Kosher meat business?

  10. If you would follow the news, you would know that the Feds have been raiding meat packing plants one after another for that last year or two. Unfortunately, it was just a matter of time…

  11. To all those pointing out they ought to obey
    the law.
    but when a law is almost universally ignored
    by jew and gentile alike it is hard to find
    serious fault with them for doing what everyone
    else does.

    And yes, this does seem like selective

  12. Immigration and Customs Enforcement likes to raid meat packing plants and publicize the raids. They have no way of enforcing the law except by scaring every employer into compliance ICE gets the most mileage from raiding meat producers because of the high concentration of illegals. Many such companies much larger than Rubashkin have been raided. Whether the employers are complying with the law comes down to whether the employers knew or should have know that they had hired illegals even though the employees had (bogus) social security cards. It is not a simple matter.

  13. Bubby –

    an·ti-Sem·i·tism (ān’tē-sěm’ĭ-tĭz’əm, ān’tī-)
    Hostility toward or prejudice against Jews or Judaism.
    Discrimination against Jews.

    Nowhere does it say, the lawful investigation of a business owned by Jews.

  14. if they were to follow the rules & hire legals. the price per pound would probably be 20%-30% higher & they you would’ve said ..?

  15. Hey Bubby from Flatbush- what makes you such a maven in determining whats anti-semitic or not. I know your type – anything that doesnt go your way -you scream anti semite. stop blaming other for your own problems. you read 10 lines of an article with out knowing any other details and automaticly judge.

  16. Stop with this “anti-Semite”crying! When you disobey the law it is WRONG and I L L E G A L !
    Rav Breuer,zt”l had a famous saying that in order for something to be approved as kosher,it must be “Glatt YOSHER and Glatt Kosher”!
    As you know,the hashgocho is no longer KAJ,so one cannot say there is a relationship with law-breakers. If the government finds lawlessness they have to enforce the law. Everyone must follow the law. Frum people too! Why is there an attitude among our fellow Yidden that it is OK to flout the law? This is not anti-Semitism,rather,it is a cause or an excuse for it.
    Also,when people write and cannot spell correctly,it takes away from the sincerity of what is being communicated.Let’s stop acting the victim when we aren’t!
    You think PETA did this? This has nothing to do with shutting down Shichita, but all to do with hiring illegals.

    Stop yelling “anti-Semite” every time a Frum guy gets caught doing something wrong.

    Maybe it was the Anti-Semites. Maybe PETA. Maybe the media. Maybe the guyyim.

    Maybe, just maybe … we should simply OBEY THE LAW and stop crying like a victim.

    Anti-Semiticism doesn’t necessarily come out of nowhere. Maybe we need to take stock of our actions and start being that Light Unto the Nations I am always reading about.

    #5 while you maybe right that they were tipped off, it should teach companies a lesson that hiring illegals will not pay in the long run. Hopefully they will learn a lesson and hire legal residents and pay slightly higher wages and take slightly less profits and not pass on the increase to the consumer.

    Kosher means EVERYTHING is done according to halocho,not just the act of slaughtering!Just because “the other one does it” does not make it right for me to do wrong.

  17. It is the union organizers who are behind this – they could not organize legitimately so they went to the Feds.

    I hope Rubashkin moves all operations out of the US and fixes everyone – PETA, the unions – once and for all.

  18. cant believe it… anything that happens 2 any yid, its straight antisamitism, maybe we think the other way round, chilul hashem, that they have to catch yidden, the am segulah, doing something wrong?

  19. It is just unblievable that most of the people who are commenting, are being mavai-ish each other- – as torah yidden shouldn’t, espicialy in front of umos ha-olom. If the public officials really want to clean up the illigal immigrants all they have to do is go down avenues “J”, “M” and most homes in the neighborhood. I believe that Rubashkin got a targeted attack. A real bumb steer!!!

  20. Just to echo a few comments above, this incident is but the latest in a slew of ICE raids at meat packers in recent years. Enter “Tyson”, “Smithfield” or “Swift” AND “illegal immigrant” into Google and you will see a definite trend occurring. The meat packing business is being particularly hard hit because it employs a large number of undocumented, illegal immigrants. The industry is highly dependent on manual labor to cut carcasses and is, therefore, highly sensitive to labor costs. Profit margins at the major (read “treif”) packers are razor-thin.

    AP (and any other kosher schlachthaus operating in the USA) is in a bind; pay minimum wage+ with benefits, etc and possibly operate in deficit, price their meats beyond the means of many kosher consumers (and risk being underpriced by imports), bend the rules at home or outsource their beis haschechita operations completely to South America. Personally, I hope a fifth option becomes competitive in the near future; successful automation of the carcass cutting and dressing operations obviating the need for lots of low-$, dangerous labor.

  21. Who says that all of the illegals are mexicans?
    How about the Israeli Scochtim? Do they have green cards? If the S.S. # do NOT match with their name, immigratiion has to check it out.
    Obviously with over 300 unmatched numbers, it will send off alarm bells when they check out the com[anies’ 941 form of quaterly wages paid.

    I hope that there were NO yiden (Israelis) arrested.

  22. I’m Lubavitch, and let me tell you it’s about time. No US company should be allowed to hire illegals. It shleps down the economy, by making an incentive for foreigners to flood in to our country illegally and drain our social benefits. Minus the employment incentive and they go back to where they belong – their homeland. I would gladly pay any meat price increase and have the government phase out [the cost of maintaing illegals] out of my taxes. It benefits the country in the long run, especially Mr. Rubashkin which is in the highest tax bracket.

  23. On another hand, if it is only Rubashkin who was singled out, it is a gross double standard and injustice. Hopefully it’s a beaconing of a new day, and this is going to start happening all over the place daily.

  24. Its is just beyond me to all of those who are trying to defend Rubashkin, they are paying these workers the minimum wage in addition to abusing them as they have no union & no rights in this country at all & by the way this is what they did to our parents when they came to this country in the late 1940, it is the most discusting job possible that these illegals could find, Yet Rubashkin is charging us top doller without any discount & yet you are defending Rubashkin when they are clearly violating the law.

    Can you just imagine somebody doing it to us Frum Jews, how we would feel, now just put your self in thier position & try imagining how they feel.

  25. Quote “lets blame the unions, lets blame peta, lets blame the anti-semites…but god forbid we should blame rubashkin….sorry people, but rubashkin and others dont pass the savings at using illegal labor onto their customers…i for one hope they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law… ”

    Comment by bacci40 — May 12, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

    Is “bacci” short for bacon? since when do Yidden hope to see other Frum jews prosecuted to the full extent of the law, especially as you haven’t even heard his side.

    Do you hire illegal immigrants to clean your house?

  26. 1) This was a multi agency combined Federal and State raid. There were 16 agencies involved. Two of those agencies were the FBI and IRS. This investigation goes much deeper then just illegal immigrants.
    2) According to the newspaper and other reports, there were serious numbers of CHILDREN working in the plant. Can we really call meat produced by children kosher? Child abuse is child abuse and it doesn’t matter what type of abuse it is. It is illegal.
    3) In ICE raids at other plants the FBI and IRS were not called in. There is something really rotten going on here.
    4) This is not anti-Semitism. This is our own failure to police ourselves. If we are embarressed – and we should be and are if the number of people posting comments is any indication – it is our own fault.
    5) Specifically it is the fault of the certifying organizations that turned a blind eye to what was going on. They have sold their hechshers for a bowl of stew and they ought to be ashamed. More than that, some of them probably ought to go to jail.

  27. I’d love to MEAT the official who is behind this whole thing and find out what’s at STEAK. The guy must be licking his CHOPS. Someone obviously has BEEF with these guys and wanted to see them turned to CHOPPED MEAT. In any case we can all be Don L’kaf Zechus and throw this guy a BONE. Don’t be a CHICKEN and just go along with everyone else. The guy is innocent and feels like CHOPPED LIVER. He’s being ROASTed for nothing just because someone can’t control his TONGUE. More news toMARROW. Hopefully we’ll find out the VEAL story.

  28. Classact, they should follow the rules and not pocket such hefty profits and pass savings to the consumer. Untill now they hired cheap labor and made huge profits on our cheshbon. It serves them right, and I hope they pay a dear price for it.

  29. what happens to all of the W-2 wage deductions from these alleged false or misused social security numbers? how many billions of dollars go unclaimed annually from all of these illegal claims? why not ask you goverment agencies. is that why the goverment pays $900.00 for a hammer? the best business today is to sell the goverment they pay more than retail….

  30. everyone take a mint and read the post every one says the same thing why dont people think that yeas their are yidden working thier and yes their are yiden who got arressted and they need money and are prayers so think and daven and let hope and pray that hashem will help

  31. My husband has been working for Rubashkin for years and never, ever, ever! has he seen children working in the plant. That’s just plain nonsense. Unfortunately, Rubashkin does hire several Israelis who are willing to work for him for a fraction of what he would have to pay an American. It’s very frustrating.

    Considering the amount of tzedakah that Rubashkin gives and the chesed that he does… I’m sure Hashem is going to help him pull through, iy”h.

  32. This doesn’t affect me in anyway however since I’m placing a comment I shall just say that I’m a vegetarian so lol lol

  33. It is hard to believe that there are so many people who are enjoying another yids downfall. It is possible that they did something wrong but the fact that they gave tons of tzedokah and helped so many people all over the world by donating truck loads of meat should not go unnoticed. It is sefira now let us see some bein adam lechaveiro.

  34. The Rubashkins are AMAZING balei chesed and balei tzedaka……Please visit their store on 13th avenue and see all the homeless they feed daily (for free). For all those who are hoping they get punished and for those that claim they are not passing on their savings etc. Before you judge and make your comments please realize they have helped countless yisoimim – almanos – and continue to do so. I pray for them – I pray they should continue with their business and go from strength to strength.. Closing them down will only hurt hundreds and maybe thousands of people. Please don’t be so quick to chanmpion for another’s downfall. After all we are all one .. their goodness benefits all of us.

  35. how sad that people are so quick to judge and dance on someone’s grave. The Rubashkins are not hated by the townspeople. The townspeople are quite concerned – if Rubashkin ch’v closes down the town closes down. I spoke to someone who lives near there -the cattle and chicken folks are not at all happy. What are they to do with their cattle and chickens and where are they to go from here? It’s sad to read so many ignorant comments from my brothers and sisters!
    Yes – we are all brothers and if my brother hurts so do I!! The Rubashkins are genuinely good people constantly lending a helping hand to anyone in need!!!

  36. No one wants Rubashkin to close down or go to jail. But we Jews also don’t want the world to think that in order to be kosher we have a right to take advantage of others and steal. Using fake social security and tax info is theft. Underreporting income is theft. Saving money by underpaying poor people and using that extra money to pay other poor people is also theft. Do your chessed on your own cheshbon,not on someone else’s back.
    -63 realize they have helped countless yisoimim – almanos – and continue to do so. I pray for them – I pray they should continue but not at the price of overworking and underpaying poor workers.-
    -62It is hard to believe that there are so many people who are enjoying another yids downfall. It is possible that they did something wrong but the fact that they gave tons of tzedokah and helped so many people all over the world by donating truck loads of meat should not go unnoticed
    62-and the poor laborer who slaves away doing hard work with little pay and unable to support and feed his family so that others can get some free food.

  37. To #33, Proud of KAJ-WH TIDE

    The quote attributed to Rav Dr. Joseph/Yosef Breuer is “Better glatt yosher then glatt kosher.” (Alternatively: “Besser glatt yosher als glatt kosher.”)

    As you know, at the time he made the statement the ‘glatt’ standard was not the norm as it is today in so many Orthodox communities.

  38. Thank you for your comments #63. THE JUDGEMENTS HERE ARE DISGUSTING!! Rubashkin’s ia s wonderful, reputable establishment. have love for your fellow yid!!! No wonder there are typhoons and earthquakes and tsuris in Eretz Yisroel. Hashem is claarly not happy with us. When are we going to realize that we are one neshama? Don’t judge Rubashkin, we all do plenty of things that are not so kosher and give ourselves plenty of breaks. We should look at ourselves first!

  39. #55 yankie,

    Illegals use the social security numbers to get a job. Money is deducted from their salary and put into the Social Security fund under the numbers they provided. Since they will never actually claim the benefits, being illegal, that money is distributed to the legal stakeholders in Social Security. In short, that money is subsidizing the rest of us.

    #63 Frumma,
    First off, its unlikely Agriprocessors would shut down from this. However, to throw in that the owners of Agriprocessors are generous in their tzedakah is a red herring. For example, surely you would concede that if Agriprocessors makes money because it is breaking a fair law, then there really isn’t much of a mitzvah when their owners give part of that money they unfairly earned to tzeddakah. In a more extreme case, sometimes the mob is generous to those around them … just as righteous people are generous too sometimes.

    Also consider: If anyone, including Agriprocessors, is able to keep its costs artificially low because it is knowingly employing illegal labor, then they have an unfair competitive advantage against others: they can charge less then others because they break the rules by paying less to their employees. That might be good for consumers in that we have artificially low prices but it means their competitors are unfairly losing business if they play by the rules and therefore have to charge a higher price. And that is not yosher.

  40. I happen to personally know of someone who was on the verge of losing his house and had a $100,000 plus of debt, and Sholom Rubashkin once asked his relative who worked in Postville how this individual was doing although he didn’t know him personally, and when he heard he sent $2000 without even being asked.

    He is an amazing Baal Tzedaka and he passes on a lot more than a tenth of his profits to support people and Moisdos

  41. For once yidden are united about something! what a relief!

    Yes, 100% what they did is wrong. And yes, anybody that’s ever been to Crown Heights for a few days know what huge baalei chesed + tzedakah the Rubashkin family is. It shouldnt be a contradiction. Dina d’malchusa applies to everyone and of course they shouldn’t cut back ch”v on their tzedakah operations. In fact most likely they will be even more successful by following a din of the Torah.

  42. hey, nach
    maybe it was all a mistake- someone just has to STEER the wrongdoers in the right direction. I’m sure the perps are feeling very SHEEPish right now. Someone is going to pay DEERly for this gross infraction.

  43. It is sad to see all these comments that have prejudged Rubashkin as guilty when the when article in fact does not even suggest that they deliberately and knowingly took in illegals. We need only look back a little in history to see who knowingly took in illegals:
    Zoë Baird-
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Zoë Eliot Baird (born 1952) is an American lawyer. She was Bill Clinton’s first unsuccessful nominee for attorney general in 1993. She is currently the President of the Markle Foundation and is on the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution.

    Baird withdrew her name from consideration for the attorney general position when it was learned that she had hired illegal aliens to serve as her chauffeur and nanny. Baird had been making $500,000 a year at the time and paying her nanny $5.00 an hour. She paid $2,900 in fines for the infractions.[1] She has worked for General Electric and was general counsel of Aetna.[2]

    It kind of sticks in the back of my mind that Clinton did the same but they’re are too many articles listing Clinton and illegal alien to review all of them.

  44. I’m more concerned about the chilul Hashem resulting from some of your comments than by what Rubashkin may or may not have done. I have know idea what the allegations are, what he did, or what his profit margin is, and neither do most/any of you. And did it ever occur to any of you that it’s none of your business? I really hope that you talkbackers are as squeaky clean as you make out because I’d hate to be forced to re-read some of these posts on the “Yom Hatocheicha”.

  45. Don’t worry. The toothless ICE agency will let all the workers go back to work in a day or two.

    This is what happened to all the other raids that they have done in the past.

    When the President of the US wants an illegal alien convicted of murder to go free, you can be sure that they don’t want to touch any of the illegals.

    This is just a temporary raid for show.

    Check all the publicized ICE raids in the past and you will see that what I say is true.

    This is probably in response to PETA, yemach shemom. They are the same type of people that took the pets of the Jews in Germany when the Jews were taken to the concentration camps.

  46. for those who commented that they are happy that Rubashkin had this “downfall” or something to that affect i feel that is wrong. you do not have to feel bad for them, as obviously they did something very wrong and brought about a major chilul hashem. yidden have to take care of themselves and behave in a way that people will look up at us and all this did was make everyone look down on us – EVEN IF OTHER COMPANIES HAD THE SAME STORY BY THEM they just look at what the jews do, but we should not be happy (if it says “binfal oyvecha al tismach” then kal v’chomer about yidden)

    for those of you who commented about how we should feel bad that such a thing happened to a baal chesed, you are wrong. since when do we believe that by doing something right we wipe away the wrong we do?? it is a beautiful thing that Rubashkin does so much chesed but that does not mean that as yidden we do not have to be ashamed of the chilul hashem that was just exposed. he did something wrong. we live in a medina shel chesed and we cannot take advantage.

    something very wrong was done and we are ashamed of this chilul hashem. as we hear Rubashkin is a baal chesed, which can lead us to believe that he has good middos and will feel bad for what was done and fix up from here on.

  47. How many of our childrens schools employ illegals (both as teachers, and janitors)? According to our school principal, as long as they have social security numbers….

  48. Take it easy, nobody said the Rubashkins were out to have illegal workers “Hevei Dan Es KOL Adam Lchaf Zechus” By the way whatever happened to the lessons we are suppopsed to learn from Sefira? Hopefully everyone wll do Hayashar Beinie Hashem and we’llbe zocheh to Biyas Mashiach Tzidkeinu BBA!

  49. From everything I have read so far, there has been no accusation that Agriprocessers has done anything wrong. These illegal immigrants were on the property of the company and therefore that is where the search was executed.

  50. I don’t believe OUTFRONT meant that the illegals just happened to be there. The raid could have taken place anywhere in Postville. However, this is the location that ICE would find the most people at any one time.

    I have yet to see one story that has accused Agriprocessors of any wrongdoing.

  51. With so many people holding at the level to give mussar its amazing how we still have problems with our chinuch, that our shuls aren’t full of kavvanah filled davening and Torah learning. Yes there are people doing the right things but give me a break look at yourself and your family and community and get a reality check! I should also be learning and not commenting on YWN!
    All these who know what yenem did and should be doing are real helps to Klal Yisrael and Kvod Shamayim! (I’m sure they have all the facts!)There comments should be barred from YWN. Oh but then they might be bored and do even worse things? On the internet? Oy!

  52. They are frum jews just like most ppl on this site. Why is there so much gloating going on? Just because someone works hard and becomes matsliach, and then has an unfortunate event happen to the business they have put their sweat and blood into, does not give ppl a right to find every possible angle to critisize them.
    Just take a moment and think before you post another baseless acusation of ppl that prior to restarting the plant (back in the 80s) built a mikva and bought a building for a shul…

  53. to # 68 yiddisheim….vie kumt typhoons and earthquakes and tzures in eretz yiroel to whats happening in iowa?..another mavin on the eibisters drochim, and still “clearly”…the rest we agree..mir zenen yididum fun reb yosel rubash….