Book: Vaporized Pig Brains Are Torturing Austin's Migrant Meatpackers

fleur design

Years have passed since Pablo Ruiz worked as a floor supervisor inside a swine slaughterhouse in Austin, Minnesota. Yet his body remains in constant pain, the result, medical experts say, of inhaling a daily dose of pig brain tissue mist.

According to Ted Genoways, author the new book The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, Ruiz, was one of the roughly two dozen former workers -- 90 percent of them Hispanic -- at the Spam factory in southern Minnesota, who in 2006 showed symptoms of a bizarre neurological disease that caused body fatigue and extreme pain in the extremities, as well as swelling of the spine and brain.

See also:
Mist of pig brain tissue sickened slaughterhouse workers

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While Some Fight For a Higher Minimum Wage, Antonio Torrealva Just Wants What He's Owed

Antonio Torrealva holds a banner outside the Apple Store in Uptown

The line of people outside the Apple Store in Uptown stretches past cars and restaurant doors, nearly to the end of the block. Hordes gather together, clutching phones in one hand and cups of now-lukewarm coffee in the other. The new iPhone has arrived. The crowds are here to claim their new toy.

Standing only a few feet away from the entrance is Antonio Torrealva, passing out flyers and holding a banner reading, "What are we really paying for?" His English skills aren't great, but he and a few others are still here with a message: The Apple Store has been working with companies that simply aren't paying their workers for the work they've already done. And it needs to stop.

See also:
Minneapolis officials exploring raising minimum wage in city, a la Seattle

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Owner of Stillwater's Land of Pharaohs massage parlor deported for fondling female customers

Malak was convicted of crossing the line during two massages, and as a result he now finds himself back in the actual Land of Pharaohs.
Amir Abd El Malak, owner of Stillwater's Land of Pharaohs massage parlor, has been deported after he was sentenced to 10 years' probation for fondling female clients.

SEE ALSO: Isabel Diaz-Castillo, alleged south Mpls baby snatcher, is in U.S. illegally, may be deported

In January, a jury convicted Malak, 37, of two counts of felony criminal sexual conduct in connection with the 2012 incidents.

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Controversial bill allowing illegal immigrants to get Minnesota driver's licenses advances

"We would be able to take our children to a hospital without having the fear that somebody could take us away at that moment when our kids are in need," an illegal immigrant who supports the bill told the AP.
If DFLers on the House and Senate Transportation Policy Committees have their way, Minnesota will soon become the fifth state allowing illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license.

SEE ALSO: Albert Lea sign controversy: "Deport Illegals" message sparks protest

Yesterday, on a party-line 10-7 vote, the Senate committee approved a bill to that end. The House committee approval a companion bill last week.

Supporters cite the public safety benefits such legislation would provide, while critics, such as our old friend Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, are concerned the bill could open the door to voter fraud.

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Poll: Minnesotans favor path to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Categories: Immigration
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Photo: Fibonacci Blue, Flickr.
Minnesotans are in line with similar national polls.
A majority of Minnesotans would favor an immigration proposal that creates a path to citizenship for those here illegally, according to a Star Tribune poll.

SEE ALSO: SEIU protests Wells Fargo over political contributions, immigration

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Isabel Diaz-Castillo, alleged south Mpls baby snatcher, is in U.S. illegally, may be deported

Categories: Crime, Immigration
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Diaz-Castillo (left) allegedly abducted 8-month-old Carlos (right) from his mother's Minneapolis apartment. She was arrested about four hours and an Amber Alert later.
Isabel Diaz-Castillo is expected to be formally charged with kidnapping today, but the feds have already charged her with being in the country illegally.

THE BACKSTORY: Baby left in car seat while mom showered is abducted in south Mpls

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed an immigration detainer on Diaz-Castillo, meaning federal agents would take her into custody if local authorities freed her for some reason.

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Albert Lea sign controversy: "Deport Illegals" message sparks protest

Categories: Immigration
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Albert Lea Sucks blog
An Albert Lea businessman is displaying this sign on his building.
-- Mpls becomes first city to declare support for Obama's DREAM Act policy
-- Chipotle faces fresh federal scrutiny more than year after mass firing of Latinos in Minnesota
-- Ed Hansen, Confederate flag-flying West St. Paul City Council member, back in trouble

Later today, people will gather to protest a controversial electronic sign displayed on the side of an Albert Lea building owned by a man who makes his money circulating porn videos.

The sign, visible on the side of the Dima Corp. building, which is owned by adult entertainment businessman Mal Prinzing, reads: "Catch and release - no! Deport Illegals - Si."

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Mpls becomes first city to declare support for Obama's DREAM Act policy

Categories: Immigration

Uriel Rosales, undocumented student at the University of Minnesota
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously declared its support for President Barack Obama's recently announced policy suspending deportation for undocumented young folks.

The Obama Administration announced the new policy June 15, which allows illegal immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents to remain in the country and receive work permits if they meet certain requirements (no criminal record, high school education).

Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden said the council's vote was meant to encourage the Department of Homeland Security to take "prompt action" implementing this policy and to encourage immigration authorities to take the "broadest possible interpretation" of Obama's move to help as many undocumented immigrants as possible.

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Chipotle faces fresh federal scrutiny more than year after mass firing of Latinos in Minnesota

The SEC is scrutinizing the information Chipotle provided investors about the illegal worker scandal.
In December 2010, in the midst of an investigation by the federal Immigration and Customs Service, Chipotle made the controversial decision to suddenly fire about 450 Minnesota employees who couldn't prove they had valid work permits. The fired workers, mostly Latinos, represented over half of the fast-casual restaurant's Minnesota workers.

At the time, Chipotle executives argued they had no choice and by now they probably figured the episode was in the past, but this week, the Security and Exchange Commission subpoenaed information regarding the company's compliance with federal hiring laws and public disclosure requirements.

Businessweek reports that Chipotle could face fines as a result of the fresh investigation. The company has already spent upward of $1 million in legal fees related to the hiring practice probe, and its 2011 stock profits were hurt by about 8 cents a share due to the fact managers can no longer rely on cheap illegal labor.

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Somali immigrant visa petitions stalling over identity paperwork

Abdinasir Abdulahi is speaking out for Somali immigrants
Local immigration attorneys are up in arms over the United States embassy in Nairobi's refusal to issue certain visas to Somali applicants.

At issue are I-130 applications by Somalis in America, which are petitions to bring over family members. United States Customs and Immigration Services has to approve the application, then sends it over to the American embassy, where the visa is provided. Somalis who have fled their homeland for Kenya have their visas processed by the U.S. consulate in Nairobi.

The problem, immigration attorneys say, is that the embassy is denying cases left and right. "It seems that they are creating these artificial walls or impediments to Somalis applying for visas," says Brian Aust, a local immigration attorney.

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