Barack Obama, campaigning Monday in Davenport, Iowa, took a question about the recent federal raid at the kosher meatpacking plant up the road in Postville. The Democrat responded:
“We’ve got to crack down on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers. When you read about a meatpacking plant hiring 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds – that is some of the most dangerous, difficult work there is. … They have kids in there wielding buzz saws and cleavers? It’s ridiculous. And the only reason they’re hiring these folks is because they want to avoid paying decent wages and providing decent benefits. We’re a nation of laws, and we’re a nation of immigrants, and I think those two things can go hand in hand.”
Obama didn’t mention Agriprocessors by name, but he did show some familiarity with the accusations that have been made against the company, which responded quickly with a statement from its lawyer and fellow Harvard law grad Nat Lewin:
This is a shocking statement from a former president of the Harvard Law Review and former constitutional law professor who has sworn, as a United States Senator, to uphold the Constitution which prescribes a presumption of innocence until guilt is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Before he made public accusations accusing a meat-packing plant of hiring 13 and 14 year olds “only . . . to avoid paying people decent wages and providing them decent benefits” and declared that the minors were assigned to work with “buzz saws and cleavers,” did Senator Obama look at the evidence or consider the plant’s categorical denial of these allegations?