Congressman Bruce Braley has been trying for months to find out how much the May 12 immigration raid in Postville cost the government. Today his office released this statement:
Braley Gets Answers from ICE on Cost of Postville Raid, Receives Full Accounting of Initial Costs
Washington, DC -In response to his formal request, Rep. Bruce Braley (D, Iowa) received a full accounting of the initial costs incurred by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during the May 12, 2008 raid at the Agriprocessors Plant in Postville, Iowa. Braley has sent repeated letters to ICE requesting a full accounting of the costs to taxpayers associated with the raid at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville , Iowa .
“It’s important that my constituents in Iowa and all U.S. taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being spent,” Braley said. “I’m glad that ICE has begun to share information with taxpayers, so they can see for themselves how their tax dollars are being used to enforce our immigration laws. I’ll continue pushing to ensure that taxpayers know how every dollar is being spent.”
The costs associated with ICE’s initial enforcement action are below. The official document from ICE is attached to this message.
I’m not able to get that chart properly formatted, but here’s how the costs of “Operation Cedar Valley Junction” break down.
The Office of Investigation costs (which relate to the initial enforcement action) are $2,803,265. Line items:
$1,578,004 for Temporary Duty Assignment Cost for 750 ICE Office of Investigations Personnel
$60,117 for Transportation of Equipment, etc.
$268,483 for Lease of Cattle Congress Facility and Modspace Trailers
$744,747 for Leased Services (Security Work Authorization with Federal Protective Service, electrician)
$65,389 for Supplies (electrical, office, operational, ID, custody)
$74,481 for Misc. Equipment (computer switch)
$12,044 Document Exploitation (DocEx), Under Cover
The Office of Detention and Removal Costs so far have been $2,441,642. Line items:
$495,697 for Temporary Duty Assignment Cost for 281 ICE Detention and Removal Personnel
$1,905,750 for Leased Services, KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root), shower trailers, latrines, detainment at Cattle Congress, processing, physical security, detainee meals
$40,195 for Supplies (cuffs / custody, property)
The official document from Immigration and Customs Enforcement concludes:
These are the known Office of Investigations costs as of October 1, 2008. This investigation is still ongoing and incurring additional expenses.
These are the known Office of Detention and Removal costs as of October 6, 2008. This investigation is still ongoing and incurring additional expenses.
The Des Moines Register noted that the $5.2 million figure does not include costs incurred to the U.S. Department of Labor or the U.S. attorney’s office in Cedar Rapids. The Register report included this as well:
Scott Frotman, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers, a union that has attempted to organize Agriprocessors’ workers, was critical of the Postville raid. He said it covers up the fact that the Bush administration has done nothing to fix what he called a broken immigration system.
“The Agriprocessors’ raid cost taxpayers millions of dollars, it raised serious due process issues, and it may have compromised federal investigations into labor abuses by the company’s management,” Frotman said.
U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, disagreed. He said immigration laws must be enforced, regardless of the expense to taxpayers.
“If we start saying, ‘Well, it costs too much money to enforce the law,’ then we will see more and more of these radical, pro-illegal immigration activists drive more wedges between us and make it harder to enforce the law,” King said.
I see no evidence that large-scale raids such as that in Postville or earlier at the Swift plant in Marshalltown do anything to reduce illegal immigration. But I’m not surprised that King is for heavy-handed actions that punish immigrants without changing much about corporate hiring practices.
Meanwhile, Lynda Waddington just wrote this piece for Iowa Independent about how the raid adversely affected life in Postville.