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GC Wiseman tried to stave off the raid. When federal immigration officials staged a massive raid on Swift & Company last December, GC Donald Wiseman wasn’t surprised. The government had been looking for illegal aliens in Swift’s workforce for months, and Wiseman knew that immigration agents were planning to show up en masse at the meat processor’s plants. But even though immigration officials haven’t filed charges against Swift � and have acknowledged that it cooperated fully on the day of the raids � Wiseman is still frustrated that they shut down all but one of the company’s seven facilities. The GC says that Swift has been working for years on ways to identify illegal aliens during its hiring process, such as participating in a government-recommended screening program. In the end, however, the company’s efforts failed to dissuade officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement from carrying out their bust. “ICE’s position seems to be that no matter what you’ve done, it’s not good enough,” says Wiseman, who has been general counsel at Greeley, Colorado � based Swift since 2003. “We believe the reason that ICE did what it did was that it wanted publicity.” In recent years the government has significantly expanded its war on illegal aliens. In 2002 the old Immigration and Naturalization Service made fewer than 600 arrests and brought criminal charges against only 25. (INS was broken up into several new agencies, including ICE, in 2003.) By contrast, ICE made almost 4,400 arrests in the 12 months ending September 30, 2006, and brought criminal charges against 716, according to agency spokesman Tim Counts. More than 1,250 workers were arrested in the December 12 raid at Swift. While the majority have been charged with administrative violations for assuming the names and Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens, more than 270 face criminal charges related to identity theft and fraud. “We believe there was a better way to accomplish [the identification of these illegal workers] that would not have caused the large financial losses and disruption [that the raids did],” Wiseman says. “There were 15,000 employees, and the government had a reasonable suspicion of 3,000. Instead of working with us to identify them, they detained every worker.” Counts responds that his agency was just doing its job: “ICE did not create this problem for Swift. To ignore Swift’s illegal alien problem simply because of its size or status would have set an incredibly bad precedent.” The December raid wasn’t the first time that immigration officials had taken action against Swift. Counts says that in 1996, an INS investigation led to the arrest of more than 140 illegal aliens at a Swift plant in Marshalltown, Iowa. Two years later, an INS review of I-9 forms (which employees fill out to verify their right to work in the United States) turned up more suspected aliens at the Iowa plant and another one in Grand Island, Nebraska. And in 2002, Counts says, a Swift human resources employee in Worthington, Minnesota, was charged and convicted of unlawful employment of illegal aliens. Wiseman declined to comment on these incidents, but says that in 1998, Swift started participating in the government’s Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program. Begun by INS and now run by Citizenship and Immigration Services, Basic Pilot allows a company to check information on an employee’s I-9 against a Social Security Administration computer database. Wiseman says that every one of Swift’s domestic hires since 1998 has received work authorization through the program. According to Counts, Basic Pilot by itself isn’t enough. “Basic Pilot was never intended as a silver bullet to magically take care of illegal aliens in the workforce,” Counts explains. “It is a valuable tool to help employers detect unauthorized workers, but as was illustrated during [our Swift] investigation, large numbers of illegal aliens were assuming the identities of U.S. citizens in order to pass through Basic Pilot undetected.” ICE kicked off its most recent investigation of Swift in February 2006, when it subpoenaed the I-9s of more than 2,000 workers at the Marshalltown, Iowa, plant. Counts says the probe was spurred by information received from illegal aliens working at Swift who had been arrested on non- immigration- related charges, as well as from law enforcement agencies and anonymous calls to a tip line. The subpoenas gave added urgency to a review that Swift had begun of its hiring policies the previous month. Wiseman says the company had no idea that it was under investigation when it decided to reevaluate its employment guidelines. Rather, the GC says the motivation for the review came from a recognition that “the political debate over illegal immigration [was beginning] to heat up again.” Swift’s human resources department � working in conjunction with Wiseman, outside lawyers at Vinson & Elkins, and a specialty consulting firm, Border Management Strategies, LLC � issued new hiring guidelines in August. Under the revised employee screening process, the company began looking for red flags such as a brand-new ID card, or a Social Security card issued in a state in which the holder had no history. The tougher criteria led Swift to fire about about 400 employees at several plants. Wiseman stresses that all along, Swift offered its full cooperation to ICE. The two sides eventually met twice last fall to discuss what role the company could play. Swift’s team, led by Wiseman, proposed a phased enforcement action that would target one plant at a time. Counts says that ICE rejected the suggestion because phased actions would alert suspects at other facilities and allow them to flee with their false identification. As it became more apparent that ICE was intent on carrying out simultaneous raids at multiple plants, Swift filed suit in late November in federal district court. The company asked the court for a temporary injunction in an effort to force the government to carry out a phased enforcement, but was turned down. ICE carried out its busts days later. Wiseman says he’s confident that Swift will be in the clear from here on out. In addition to stepping up its efforts to spot phony documentation, the GC says the company’s human resources staff continues to regularly audit hiring practices, and employees receive training on how to comply with Swift’s employment policies. “[The government] already took away almost 1,300 people,” says Wiseman. “They really have no reason to come back.”

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