The New York Times has a major story this morning regarding the recent raid of the meat processing plant in Postville, Iowa. Nearly 400 illegally present workers were criminally prosecuted as a result of their work at the plant.

The Times interviewed translator Eric Camayd-Freixas after the Florida International University professor circulated a 14 page essay describing his experience working at the trials of the workers.

According to the Times, many of the workers did not understand the criminal charges and were not actually guilty of the crimes for which they were convicted.

Professor Camayd-Freixas said he was
taken aback by the rapid pace of the proceedings and the pressure
prosecutors brought to bear on the defendants and their lawyers by
pressing criminal charges instead of deporting the workers immediately
for immigration violations.

said defense lawyers had little time or privacy to meet with their
court-assigned clients in the first hectic days after the raid. Most of
the Guatemalans could not read or write, he said. Most did not
understand that they were in criminal court.

"The questions
they asked showed they did not understand what was going on," Professor
Camayd-Freixas said in the interview. "The great majority were under
the impression they were there because of being illegal in the country,
not because of Social Security fraud."

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Immigration Subcommittee has indicated that she intends to hold a hearing on the Postville prosecutions and call Professor Camayd-Freixas.

You can read the professor's essay here. Download camayd.pdf