One of the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse managers has admitted to conspiring to harbor and recruit immigrants who entered into the country illegally. After federal agents raided the slaughterhouse, Hosam Amara fled to Israel but was recently expected to plead guilty to a count of conspiring to harbor undocumented immigrants for profit under the terms of his new plea deal.
Hosam Amara managed the second shift on the poultry side of the Agriprocessors Inc. plant. His conspiracy charge will give him a maximum of 10 years in prison although he may be subject to federal sentencing which will call for a shorter sentence. Amara fled to Israel weeks after federal agents descended on the plant and arrested 389 workers. Amara was arrested and taken to the U.S. to face charges after unsuccessfully challenging extradition. Amara finally decided to sign a plea agreement after he admitted to conspiring with the CEO Sholom Rubashkin and other executives for at least five years prior to the raid. He had knowledge of the harboring of immigrants “knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact” that they had come to the country illegally. Furthermore, Amara admitted to encouraging and inducing them to stay in the U.S.
Amara reportedly complained to the CEO that there was a shortage of American workers needed to work in the plant. Amara encouraged existing foreign workers to tell their family members to come illegally to work at the plant, and they were put on a separate payroll to make it look as though they worked for a different company. Rubashkin gave Amara $4,000 to leave the country and told him to “Just go ahead and leave and forget about everything here.” Amara’s attorneys are still going to argue over several ambiguous issues such as whether Amara obstructed justice, how many immigrants he personally harbored, and what responsibility he had in the larger conspiracy between the executives of the company. While several other executives have already been prosecuted, many others fled the country as fugitives. The raid continues to be a point of outrage in the small Iowa town of 2,000 people. The immigrants were arrested and bused to a makeshift courtroom for hearings. Most pleaded guilty to identity theft charges and spent five months in prison or were deported.
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