297 Illegal Immigrants Get Jail in Federal Crackdown
Stiff sentences signal tougher federal line on immigration
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2008 7:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some 270 illegal immigrants have been sentenced to 5 months in federal prison in a sign that the Bush administration is taking a much harder line on undocumented workers, the New York Times reports. Busted for using fake IDs, the workers were among 389 swept up at a kosher meat-packing plant in Iowa in the biggest immigration raid on a workplace in US history. Until now, undocumented workers have usually been detained and deported.

The immigrants, mostly Guatemalan, will be deported after serving their sentences. "I don’t doubt for a moment that you are good, hard-working people who have done what you did to help your families,” the judge told the immigrants. “Unfortunately for you, you committed a violation of federal law.” The US attorney  for northern Iowa called the operation an “astonishing success.”