Immigration raids are destroying lives—and McDonald's bun supply

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Can you imagine a third of your town disappearing overnight? It happened in 2008, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement targeted a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in an immigration raid. They detained more than 380 undocumented workers, leaving the town decimated. Ultimately, 1,000 terrified immigrants left the area, which never fully recovered from the raid.


Last week, as the Trump administration continues targeting undocumented workers, a European company reported that it lost $21 million after 800 bakery workers were detained by ICE in Chicago— forcing the company to replace 35 percent of their staff.

Cloverhill Bakery, which makes baked goods for McDonald’s and other businesses, hired the workers through a job-placement agency, Bloomberg reports. The bakery, based on the Northwest Side of Chicago but operated by Swiss company called Aryzta, is now struggling to get back on track in North America.

There was no local coverage of the raid, and the news broke when Bloomberg dug up Aryzta’s year-end financial report.

As Eater noted earlier this year, “if you care about food, you need to care about immigration policy”: More than 70 percent of farm workers are immigrants—half of those undocumented. The trend continues in restaurants, where around 20 percent of cooks and 28 percent of dishwashers are undocumented. If you needed a completely selfish reason to pay attention to this issue: Hey, your buns are at stake.

Jen Sabella is Managing Editor of The Takeout. She loves: fried chicken, mezcal, cats and stalking celesbians on Instagram.


“Customs Enforcement targeted a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa” Meatpacking used to be a union dominated industry that provided stable, middle class jobs for thousands of Americans. The owners of these plants busted those unions with a compliant, undocumented work force that is terrified of being arrested and deported. The owners don’t care, they can always replace the workers that are caught with new undocumented workers.

The union workers that lost their jobs are victims. The terrorized undocumented workers are victims.

The criminals are the management and owners of those packing plants.

Arrest them.