If only for a few minutes, Maria felt like an ''illegal alien'' in her homeland - the United States of America.
She thought she was going on break from her job at the Swift & Co. meat processing plant here on Tuesday, but instead she and others were forced to stand in a line by U.S. immigration agents. Non-Latinos and people with lighter skin were plucked out of line and given blue bracelets.
The rest, mostly Latinos with brown skin, waited until they were ''cleared'' or arrested by ''la migra,'' the popular name in Spanish for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), employees said.
''I was in the line because of the color of my skin,'' she said. ''They're discriminating against me. I'm from the United States, and I didn't even get a blue bracelet.''
Maria was one of hundreds of plant employees targeted by federal agents.
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