Loss For One Is Another's Gain
Applicants line up to fill jobs left empty by Swift plant raid

By Fernando Quintero
Rocky Mountain News

GREELEY -- The line of applicants hoping to fill jobs vacated by undocumented workers taken away by immigration agents at the Swift & Co. meat-processing plant earlier this week was out the door Thursday.
Among them was Derrick Stegall, who carefully filled out paperwork he hoped would get him an interview and eventually land him a job as a slaughterer. Two of his friends had been taken away by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and he felt compelled to fill their rubber boots.
"Luckily, they had no wives or family they left behind. But it was still sad. They left their apartments filled with all their stuff. I took two dogs one of them had. The other guy had a cat I gave to my sister," he said.
Greg Bonifacio heard about the job openings on television and brought his passport, his Colorado driver's license, his Social Security card and even a color photograph of himself as a young Naval officer to prove his military service.
"I don't want to hassle with any identification problems because of my last name," said Bonifacio, a 59- year-old Thornton resident of Filipino heritage.
As it turned out, the Colorado Workforce office that was taking applications did not require any identification.
That would come later for those who made it past the interview process.
Bonifacio was hoping to get a job in production or fabrication. So was Nathan Korgan, a former construction worker whose company closed and moved to California.
"I feel bad for the kids, but good for me," said Korgan of Tuesday's raid.
Like many others who had mixed emotions about the raid, Maxine Hernandez said she was upset that families were torn apart, but believes illegal immigrants should not get work using fake documents.
"I guess I'm in the middle," she said. "But I do think they should have planned (the raid) better so that innocent children wouldn't be left behind."
Hernandez, who had gone to the employment office because her husband was there to apply for unemployment insurance, decided to apply for a job at Swift on a whim.
"My whole family used to work there. My mom, my aunt, uncles," she said. "I guess it sort of runs in our blood."



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