Alt-Weekly Story Cited in Federal Immigration Raid

june 21, 2007  11:22 am
Last month, Willamette Week ran a cover story on the working conditions of illegal immigrants employed at the Del Monte Fresh Produce food processing plant in North Portland. Last week, federal agents working for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided the plant and arrested 167 undocumented workers. ICE's affadavit (pdf file) cites and quotes from the Week's story, but also notes that "there are no indications that there was an ICE leak" that tipped the paper off. In other words, the ICE raid was already in the works. In an update this week, reporter Beth Slovic writes that the response to the piece before and after the raid has been interesting. "Before the raid, readers who already sympathized with illegal immigrant workers largely praised the May 2 story for describing working conditions at the plant. Unsympathetic readers saw it as a weak-kneed defense of law breakers," she writes. "The raid flipped those responses, prompting some readers to fault the story for naming the plant and others to praise it for apparently aiding agents in their bust."