“We only want to know one thing — what good comes from displacing so many families?
Mario Basurto, project coordinator of the Centro Latinoamericano, asking about the ICE raid in Postville, Iowa.
LatinaLista — Yesterday’s Postville raid at the Agriprocessors’ plant is being boasted as the state’s largest raid netting 390 undocumented immigrants: 290 Guatemalans; 93 Mexicans and a handful of Ukranians and Israelis.
All of the detainees are being held at the National Cattle congress grounds. Among those detained, twelve were minors believed to be 16 and 17-years-old.
Since yesterday, 56 of those detained, mostly women and six of the juveniles, have been released on humanitarian grounds according to ICE. Yet, that only means that these women must start making arrangements for themselves and their children to be deported.
While ICE justified their raid as one of identity theft and using false Social Security numbers, it is being reported that there were some apprehended that were not criminally charged but will be remanded to the U.S. Marshall’s office for deportation proceedings.
However, accurate information is hard to come by for local officials who are trying to calm a town hit by a Department of Homeland Security immigration raid that seems to have had more than its fair share of “sources.”
Eli Rodriguez hugs his nephew, Kevin Rodriguez-Jimenez, 6, on Monday as they wait across the street from Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa. They were hoping for word of the boy’s mother, a plant employee. An agent later told them that the woman’s name was not on the detainee list.
(Source: Des Moines Register)
Mario Basurto, project coordinator, of Centro Latinoamericano in Waterloo, Iowa has been working around the clock since the raids took place. Usually averaging about 20-30 clients a day, where they help people regardless of citizenship status with any issues they may have, Basurto tells Latina Lista that it’s now more like 50-100 clients a day.
“People are scared,” Basurto says.
In fact, people are so scared that they’re afraid to come forward. Basurto said that some of the juveniles detainees are afraid to say anything out of fear of implicating their families.
“They’re (ICE) treating these people like numbers and they’re human beings,” Basurto said his voice cracking as he reflected on the past 24 hours.
When asked if there was any one case that stood out in his mind from the day’s blur of attending to crying spouses and terrified children, Basurto paused and said that each case was special.
Yet seeing firsthand so much human anguish and despair definitely has had an impact on those trying to help the area families affected by the raid.
“It tears you apart,” Basurto said. “It’s not right, it’s not right that people are looked at as numbers and not human beings.”
The magnitude of the raid’s impact on area families has yet to be determined but Basurto anticipates there being a big need since those apprehended were the main breadwinners for their families.
To help these families, a bank account has been set up ready to accept monetary donations. The Postville Support Fund, has been set up at Veridian Credit Union. Basurto says that the money will be sent directly to the people who are in need of it.
Editor’s Note: The local newspaper, WCF Courier , has done a very good job covering the incident. Among their video footage, they have a virtual tour of where the detainees are being held – it was submitted by ICE officials.