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Associated Press File Photo / Workers from PH Foods in Morton, Mississippi, and their supporters hold signs to protest being fired in August after federal agents arrested 99 people there for immigration violations.

An August raid of 680 illegal immigrants at seven poultry processing plants across Mississippi brought the usual caterwauling in support of a group of people who, at a minimum broke the law in being in the United States.

But there were also cries about breaking up families, conducting the raids without warnings (well, yeah) and carrying them out on the first day of school.

The "undocumented" workers were doing no harm, Democrats said at a field hearing they called in Mississippi Thursday to criticize the raids.

As it turned out, they were.

In addition to being in the country illegally, they had stolen the IDs of hundreds of U.S. citizens, the Department of Homeland Security's top investigator told the hearing.

"They stole the IDs of 400 U.S. citizens," said Jere Miles. "Where's their voice?"

Further, there were felony cases against some of those rounded up.

So Miles tried to get the Democrats to understand the scope of the problem of the IDs, which is a federal crime.

"Is that not a serious crime?" he asked.

U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thomas, D-Mississippi, chairman of the committee checking on the raids, didn't want to hear it.

"Be quiet," he told Miles.

Democrats later complained none of the processing plant managers were nabbed, but the Homeland Security inspector said their time may be coming since 850,000 documents were seized.

"Seven months from now, a year from now, when we finalize the investigation," Miles said, "there'll be nobody thanking us for it."

And since the Democrats at the hearing should have been, but weren't, praising him for doing his job and protecting the security of U.S. citizens, the Homeland Security officials gave them something to think about.

"It's one thing to sit here and say this is cruel, this is this, this is the other," Miles said. "But it is the law. And Congress writes the law, we don't. If you want us as a unit, as a group, to go 'We'll not enforce the law,' that's really not what we're designed for."

Following the hearing, U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said 119 of the individuals have been prosecuted by his office. Their charges include misusing Social Security numbers of American citizens, fraudulently claiming to be a U.S. citizen, falsifying immigration documents and reentering the U.S. after having previously been deported or removed.

Already, 47 of the individuals have pled guilty, and a number of others have said they plan to plead guilty.

"Americans have been directly harmed by the theft of their identities, resulting in citizens not being able to get loans or credit cards, obtain health insurance, and perform other basic activities," Hurst said. "... Turning a blind eye to their illegal acts would not be fair to our nation, their victims, or the millions of naturalized American citizens."

We continue to wonder how such crimes can be thought of by Democratic politicians and immigration advocates as doing no harm. But it needn't happen if our borders are secured.

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