Alt-Weekly Reports U.S. Senator's Company Hires Illegal Immigrants

september 11, 2008  12:10 pm
Willamette Week's cover story this week reports that Republican U.S. Senator Gordon Smith's frozen food processing company employs undocumented immigrants, which is a violation of federal law. The Oregonian reports that Smith has said that he has told his firm, Smith Frozen Foods, to "go the extra mile" in ensuring that its work force is legal, and he reacted harshly to WW's piece yesterday. "It is wholly compromised of unsubstantiated and ridiculous allegations from a liberal tabloid whose purpose is to advance a left-wing agenda rather than the truth," Smith said in a statement. But WW editor Mark Zusman tells Politicker OR that no such agenda exists. "There is no purpose other than to seek to tell the truth about an important story," he says. "It's not unusual for a food processing plant to hire illegal immigrants as workers. But this is unusual because Smith is a United States senator." The WW story didn't offer definitive proof, but cited several workers who said illegal immigrants worked there. "We would not have published this story had we not been comfortable with the underlying issue -- that Smith had illegal workers," Zusman says.