Boyles falsely claimed Portland mayor didn't address ID theft in immigration raids

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Discussing recent raids searching for illegal immigrant workers in Portland, Oregon, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles on June 14 falsely suggested that the city's mayor was unconcerned about the theft of Social Security numbers that officials allege had been discovered before the raids. In fact, Mayor Tom Potter stated that it was appropriate to arrest the three people who officials said supplied the false documentation to the workers.

On the June 14 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles misrepresented the statement of Portland, Oregon, Mayor Tom Potter regarding raids searching for local illegal immigrant workers to suggest that Potter was unconcerned about the alleged theft of Social Security numbers in the case. In fact, Potter had addressed the issue, saying, "I certainly understand why federal officials executed criminal warrants against three individuals who stole and sold Social Security numbers."

Boyles was discussing with frequent guest Bob Cote the June 12 raids on the Portland fruit and vegetable processing plant Fresh Del Monte and on American Staffing Resources, a contract company for Fresh Del Monte. According to an online report by Portland's KOIN News 6, "[O]fficials arrested three managers for knowingly hiring undocumented workers and supplying them with false documentation."

From the June 14 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: This raid took place in Portland.

COTE: Right.

BOYLES: 165 in this -- illegals. And the mayor of Portland -- he sounds like John Hickenlooper Jr. -- Tom Porter says he's unhappy. Here's the statement; I have it. This was a statement released from the Portland mayor's office: "I am angered by this morning's arrest by federal officers of approximately 150 Portland residents."

COTE: Uh-huh. There you go, doublespeak.

BOYLES: Well, I'll take you back to [former Denver] Mayor [Wellington] Webb, Rosalinda's -- the restaurant, the proclamation that begins sanctuary in Denver. In spite of, "That doesn't exist!" To hell it doesn't! But when they start calling -- when Webb talked about all the residents of Denver. They don't -- the "citizen" word is not there. Citizi -- by, by the way, these people that he is defending, how he's angered about it -- did you see the paperwork that -- I mean, I, I got so much junk in front of me here this morning because it is interesting to see all the -- and I wonder -- just a second -- how many people he feels bad for whose IDs were stolen and used by these guys. Here it is: 90 of these 165, thus far, fraudulent or forged Social Security cards. Some had real Social Security cards of juveniles, the elderly, people who have died, fake green cards. Now, does Tom Potter, the mayor of Portland, talk about that?

COTE: No! You can't talk about that.

Contrary to Boyles' suggestion that Potter did not "talk about" the theft of Social Security cards, Potter in fact stated that it was appropriate to arrest the three people who investigators said supplied the false documentation to the workers, while expressing sympathy for the affected workers and their families:

Mayor Potter's statement on arrests Tuesday (6/12) by immigration & customs enforcement officers (June 12, 2007)

"I am angered by this morning's arrest by federal officers of approximately 150 Portland residents who were working at a local produce company.

"I certainly understand why federal officials executed criminal warrants against three individuals who stole and sold Social Security numbers. But to go after local workers who are here to support their families while filling the demands of local businesses for their labor is bad policy. It also serves as a reminder of the failure of our national leaders to deliver an immigration policy that is both fair and humane to families and acknowledges the economic realities of our country.

"Our nation would be better served if this kind of energy was focused on creating a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship; addresses the immigration backlog that keeps families apart; and provides a safe and legal way for workers to enter our country and be productive workers and taxpayers. Immigrants provide more than mere labor in our community. They have long enriched our history, our culture and our city. My heart goes out to families dealing with the aftermath of this morning.

"In this morning's raid, no Portland police officers participated, and our Crisis Response Team was activated to help families affected."

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