LatinaLista — On Monday, May 12, the biggest single-site immigration raid in the history of the country took place in Postville, Iowa where 389 suspected undocumented immigrants who were worked for Agriprocessors Inc., a kosher meat-processing plant, were detained.
Family members react to news of the immigration raid in Postville, Iowa.
The captured immigrants were quickly processed by the government at the makeshift headquarters set up at the local National Cattle Congress facility, and yet, while U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have told the local public that they are finished with rounding up undocumented residents in the area, local community leaders don’t believe it.
Carole Gustafson, president and founder of El Centro Latinoamericano in Waterloo, told Latina Lista that the Latino community is so on edge that local businesses are turning to her organization to reach out to them.
“I don’t trust (ICE). They say they’ve stopped but in the days after the raid in Postville, Latinos are reporting that they are being stopped on the street and taken to detention facilities,” said Gustafson. “It’s so bad that local businesses are reporting that their Latino workforce is not showing up for work and they want us to put out a statement saying that it’s alright now, but we can’t because we don’t know for sure.”
Saying that the region has become “open season on Latinos,” Gustafson says that even those who are citizens are experiencing their rights being violated and that while the initial fear over the raid has subsided, it’s not until ICE leaves the area that everyone will breathe a sigh of relief.
“Though ICE says they’re finished, I doubt it,” said Gustafson. “When you rent a place, like they did with the National Cattle Congress, until May 26 and they were able to process over 300 people in only four days, well, it sounds like they’re gearing up for something more, and the reality of the situation is that they’re not truthful.”
However, Gustafson and her colleagues can’t worry about ICE’s next step because they’ve been overwhelmed with trying to help the families left behind. In fact, on Thursday the organization issued a press release requesting financial help from the community.
Knowing that family members want to speak to their loved ones in detention, the Centro Latinoamericano is arranging for vans to transport family members across the state to those county jails that are housing the detainees. Yet, not everyone will be able to see their loved ones since each county jail has its own set of criteria for who can visit, when and how much notice needs to be given.
In those instances when family members can’t see one another, a phone call is needed to allay fears that everyone is fine. Centro Latinoamericano is trying to get phone cards for the detainees since they need cash to call out to their families.
While many donations have been received for the families, it’s cash that is needed most said Gustafson. She said that the last paycheck for these detainees was Friday but families can’t pick them up on behalf of the workers.
Gustafson says that many of these families live paycheck to paycheck and she worries what will happen when rents can’t be paid or there is any food left in these homes, many of which contain children.
To show their support for the detained immigrants, a vigil is going to be held Sunday at 1:30 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church. The vigil starts with a service and includes addresses by several community leaders and ends with a 3-mile solidarity march to the National Cattle Congress facility.
“I just can’t help but think that if I was in the same position, as some of these families, I would wish that someone would help me,” said Gustafson. “It’s more than just a legal versus illegal situation. It’s a humanitarian situation.”
To contribute to the fund for the families of those detained in a federal immigration raid at a Postville, Iowa, meat plant Monday, send donations to the St. Bridget Parish Hispanic Ministry Fund, c/o Sister Mary McCauley, P.O. Box 369, Postville, IA 52162.
I’ve noted that the Mexican government is all too willing to facilitate voting for illegal aliens in Mexican elections and in issuing Matricular Consular Cards, yet refrain from assisting repatriation of families when breadwinners get caught. It’s time for Mexico to admit that its illegal alien citizens are not welcome in the U.S. and call them home. Maybe they ought to express their family values and take care of their own for a change, instead of abandoning these people.
Yesterday, our town was raided by 400 FBI agents, ICE agents (formally known as INS), state troopers, and a variety of other agencies. We had helicopters flying overhead for hours, all roads were blocked coming into and going out of Postville, media crews and cameras EVERYWHERE, and basically mass chaos. The federal government had decided to make Postville an example for the rest of the nation to see our supposedly working Homeland Security. Ironically, as this all transpired, I was at the county courthouse with my Government class, so that they could see first hand how our judicial system works. We got more of a lesson then we were bargaining for. I received calls from the school not to come back to school because I have students they were concerned about. (Yes, they are undocumented students who have been in this district since they were in fourth grade. They speak English clearly, their parents work here in town and pay taxes, have tried to file papers to become legal, but have been denied due to the fact that they do not come from a â€˜desirableâ€™ country.)
I am told after a few hours that I can come back on the school bus, but to expect to be pulled over by the FBI, and I am not to, under any circumstances, let any officer onto the bus. I now have 12 students who are scared as to what will happen, with four students that could possibly be arrested. Basically, I had 20 minutes to get my wits about me and be ready to face ICE or the FBI and tell them to take a hike. Under federal laws, schools and churches are considered sanctuaries, and people can go to them for political refugee. (Think of the Hunchback of Norte Dame.) Although this did nothing to calm my nerves, as I am afraid that I might also be arrested for not cooperating with the law.
We made it back into Postville, only to find that our school is now surrounded by media cameras. I will not make a comment about the news mediaâ€¦I have not much good to say about them at this point. I get to my classroom, to find out that our entire computer network crashed at 10 am (the same time ICE came to Postville). It also has been running off and on today, with an entire computer tech team unable to find out what is wrong. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe our accounts are being scanned. (Big Brother)
After school, all teachers and staff are told to report to the theater. We have 150 students with no parents to go home to. We are told that we need to stay with them until we find out where their parents are at or a relative that will care for them until their parents are found. Many of these kids lost both parents due to the raid and the parents are now sitting in jail in Waterloo, or in the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds until they are deported. I guess, I donâ€™t really care how any of you feel about immigration, we all have our opinions. But I will say, that as a human being and as a parent, I find it disturbing to see little elementary kids crying for their parents and asking you to take them home, and all one can say is, I am sorry, or we are looking for them. By the way, we got no information from ICE as to who they arrested, and whether or not, their parents were being detained. At this point, I just wanted to go home and hug my own kids.
I spent the rest of the evening trying to locate family members, having students â€˜hideâ€™ their personal belongings in classrooms, barns, houses, or where ever, and ward off the media. From what I have heard, we were all over the midwest news channels and newspapers, with CNN and FOX news also doing stories on us. I think we are on the national news tonight. It was announced that Postvilleâ€™s raid was the largest immigration raid in US History.
Today, I am missing about half of my students. Some have taken off for Chicago, others are hiding in town, some were arrested, and others are at the Catholic Church. I spent the morning helping in the church with food preparation (there are 400 people seeking refugee in the church right now), and also trying to locate items like diapers, food, pillows, blankets, and games for the little kids to play with. From media reports, about 350 people were arrested, with 697 more possible arrests, most of them Guatemalan (not Mexican). Only 57 have been released due to child care or medical reasons. They are currently back with ankle monitors on. Most will be deported.
The town has literally â€™shut downâ€™. Businesses are closed, the school is about half empty, and we are now left wondering if we will all have jobs next year. This town was a ghost town 15 years ago, but has managed to build itself back up on the backs of our immigrant workers. I have complained many times about the language barriers I encountered at school, but I have always said that the reason I had a job was because we were the only district that actually was growing and able to keep their staff due to the sheer number of students in the school district. By me working in the Postville School District, I am eligible to have half of my student loans forgiven over a five year time period. I only have one more year left to complete this goal. If we lose half of our students, this will not happen.
What frustrates me the most is that this raid accomplished nothing positive. It has destroyed families, will more than likely close some area businesses, some of us will lose our jobs, and the real estate in the area became worthless overnight. All this in an already struggling economy. I know that I am complaining in this email and it has become a lengthy email too, but everyone who complains about the immigrants â€˜taking American jobsâ€™ donâ€™t even want these jobs. Honestly, who wants to work for minimum wage, 12 hours a day, 6 days a week with no overtime, in cold, smelly conditions, gutting chickens or cows? I know that I donâ€™t want to do that for a living.
Interestingly enough, my US History students made a direct correlation between what we all witnessed yesterday to our history lesson three weeks ago. We have been studying W.W.II and the Holocaust. I had them view the movie â€˜Schindlerâ€™s Listâ€™ and the things that happened in the movie, with the Nazis rounding up the Jews, having them report their names and familiesâ€™ names, transporting them to unknown places, keeping them in substandard holding areas, and then getting rid of them, was very much like what happened yesterday, with one exception, the US has not practiced the use of genocide.
ICE is today, doing house to house searches of every home and apartment that has a hispanic name attached to it. It is rather scary to see search teams go from place to place, looking for immigrants. We had agencies at the school a month ago with a subpoena to seize all student and employee files. Any name that sounded remotely Hispanic was flagged. I find this to be a form of racial profiling, and I know that it is happening, because I was already asked three weeks ago to bring in a copy of my birth certificate due to the fact that my maiden name was â€˜Hispanicâ€™ sounding. (de Julio)
How quickly we forget our own histories. Many of our ancestors came here with nothing to their names and very little to survive on. They wanted a fresh start too. Unless they are 100% Native American, your ancestors were also immigrants. So why are we trying to make an example out of those less fortunate? Why not go after the people who really are doing something illegal and wrong? Like drug dealers or child molesters? If we spent as much money on those items as we are currently spending on the War in Iraq (which we are loosing) or building a 700 mile long wall on the Mexican border which is actually 2300 miles long, we would maybe in a better economy that was safe for our families.
Proud not to have voted for George W. Bush in either election,
â€¦.. Teacher in Postville School System
“We have been studying W.W.II and the Holocaust. I had them view the movie â€˜Schindlerâ€™s Listâ€™ and the things that happened in the movie, with the Nazis rounding up the Jews, having them report their names and familiesâ€™ names, transporting them to unknown places, keeping them in substandard holding areas, and then getting rid of them, was very much like what happened yesterday, with one exception, the US has not practiced the use of genocide.”
Other differences include the fact that these people are foreign nationals who’ve violated our immigration laws and they’re being fed and housed decently and not beaten or abused by our authorities. They are simply being removed to their country of origin, nothing more. Unlike the Germans who were violators of human rights, the U.S. is not violating human rights. The U.S. is not subject to prosecution in the World Court, as we’ve violated no laws and are simply excericising the same discretion that Mexico, Gueatemala and the rest of Latin America use every day in defending their sovereignty. The only real similarity is they’re being arrested. In short, the deported have no legal or moral claim to stay in this country. They set themselves up for this the moment they crossed our borders, and now whining after getting caught. The recourse to avoiding this so-called tragedy, is simple, don’t violate our laws, and if they’ve already done so, go home at the first opportunity.
The buzz in town: Watch out for the ‘migre’
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Like lots of dads, Gilbert Torres occasionally loses track of his boys as they play outside their small rental home on Sioux City’s west side.
Ask him where the family’s immigration papers are located and he pulls out the pile immediately.
“This is the stack for me,” says Torres, 41, leafing through several folders. “Here is my paper.”
The certificate, which looks like a diploma, verifies Torres gained U.S. citizenship March 3, 2006. The process took him two decades and at least $3,000. It’s worth it.
I see Torres days after federal immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and arrested 390 workers, most of them Hispanic. It is believed many laborers there obtained false birth certificates and social security cards to gain employment.
While they attempted to feed their families and achieve the “American Dream,” they broke the law, potentially hurt law-abiding citizens and should be prosecuted.
“I came from California, where you buy a fake green card and a fake social security card,” says Torres, a truck driver. “It’s like a grocery store. You come to this place in San Jose, tell them you’re a Mexican and they set you up with whatever you need.”
Iowa, according to Torres, is stricter. Employers here check social security cards and birth certificates. Illegal workers in Iowa often trek to Minnesota to find the documents they need. They assume another’s identity to slaughter livestock for a bit more than minimum wage.
It was reported that some workers in Postville toiled for less — much less — than minimum wage. Some dream.
“The only way you work in Iowa is to have another person’s identity,” he says. “If they do that and then drink and drive or break the law, it goes on that person’s name. They burn out another person’s name.”
Torres is against amnesty. He believes a path to citizenship should take 12 years. His wife Maria, who serves homemade tamales on this picture-perfect Friday night, secured her green card three years ago and recently earned permanent-resident status, another step toward citizenship.
“That’s what people in Mexico think America is,” he says. “They all think there are great jobs and all this money. You can tell when a person has just come from Mexico because for the first few months they are smiling and saying ‘Hi’ to everyone they see.”
They soon learn paradise can be damn tough.
“You should take the steps and prove yourself in this country,” says the trucker in the Iowa Hawkeyes T-shirt.
Otherwise, he adds, you are asking for trouble. You are asking to be caught. And you are victimizing someone else.
Is your story suppose to substantiate your arguments that the repatriation of “Illegal Immigrants” is the Holocaust of today? Yet you don’t care that these “Illegal Immigrants” are victimizing someone here by using forged or stolen Identification of an American Citizen. You have the mindset that American Citizens have lived in prosperity long enough, now its the Latin@’s turn and if an American Citizen is harmed, then, oh well!
This is horrendous, for all Americans who valued living in a state of respect for civil and human rights.
That state is gone – destroyed by the Bush “administration” and its friends and allies.
Yes – the Nazis could not have committed their atrocities without support from many Germans. They didn’t need a majority. They just needed enough people to do the dirty work, enough to scream their slogans, and enough others to keep quiet.
We all need to think about how we can become Schindlers.
GOP lawmakers were in a state of shock on Wednesday after suffering a devastating special-election loss in Mississippi. That loss, coupled with special-election losses in Illinois and Louisiana earlier this year, has House Republicans questioning their message, candidates and fundraising efforts.
They also are grappling with what changes, if any, to make to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
One such possibility deals with speculation that NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) will be replaced by former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis (Va.).
â€¦According to a copy of House Minority Leader John Boehnerâ€™s (R-Ohio) talking points, one possible query, written under the heading â€œPossible Tough Questions,â€ reads, â€œAre the results in [Mississippi] another indication that 2008 is setting up to be a disastrous year for House Republicans?
â€œOur leadership team and our members just had one of the most candid and open meetings weâ€™ve ever had,â€ read the talking points, presumably prepared before the meeting. â€œAnd we made this commitment: Weâ€™re getting up off the mat to fight, and weâ€™re going to prove to the American people that we are the agents of change they expect their Washington leaders to be.â€
So in response to this gloomy predicament for House Republicans, possible future NRCC Chairman, Davis, passed out a 20 page memo suggesting his strategies for changing the situation:
In a telling development, Davis distributed a 20-page memo Wednesday to GOP members outlining strategies that he advocates for changing the direction of the party. No other member released such a memo.
In his memo, Davis wrote that the House GOP could lose another 20 House seats in November and a half-dozen in the Senate if Republicans continue on the same path.
â€œDemocrats are not winning, we are losing,â€ the memo stated, adding, â€œFailure to fundamentally change the GOP brand can lock us into a very long period of minority status.â€
Davis called for shifts on healthcare (â€œthe weakest issue for Republicansâ€) and immigration: â€œJohn McCain, being from a border state, may be out of sync with many Republicans but he has standing among Hispanics. Barack Obama has not made the sale to Hispanic voters. Thus this issue is a tar baby for anyone who touches it, with land mines everywhere. But the Democrats control Congress and are doing nothing. This needs to be highlighted. Put the onus on them to produce a bill. Put them on defense.â€
Soon the racists will be history. Just like aalllll the other racists thrughout history. THIS is the beginning of the end, being deserted by their own party. LOL!!! I JUST LOVE IT!!
I think we lose credibility when we compare what is happening today to undocumented migrant workers and what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.
The Jews were citizens and “de-nationalized” (stripped of their citizenship) by their respective countries. Then sent off to forced labor camps.
laura, did you not read the comments of the anti-illegals in this thread? Do they mean nothing to you?
yes, the Jews from Nazi Germany in the end were taken by train to camps that had large rooms into which they were herded naked, told that they would get a shower, and then killed with poison gas. Those camps, like Auschwitz, had large ovens in which the bodies were then burned.
This is not being done – and I belive will not be done – to undocumented people here today.
But before the Nazis started this – what they called the “final solution” they did other things. These things are being done to undocumented people in the US today.
They stripped Jews, who had been living normal lives as members of the communities, of their civil rights. They said Jews had no right to be in Germany. They forbade Jews from going to school, to doctor’s offices, to the movies. They conducted raids on Jewish homes and businesses and arrested the adults in front of the children. They beat them in detention, and some died.
And before they started doing those things, they began by calling Jews the enemies of Germany. They blamed Jews for Germans’ poverty (this was a time of economic crisis and high unemployment). They said Jews were an inferior race. They said the goal of Jews was to exploit Germany and enrich themselves from Germans. They said Jews only think of sex and money. They called Jews dirty and they called them vermin.
Daniel, undocumented people are not killed by poison gas in camps, and I believe never will be. But they die in large “detention facilities,” and their overseers are not investigated or punished. They are hunted in raids and arrested in front of their children. Though they produce huge income for American businesses and use health care facilities dramatically less than Americans do, they are blamed for the health care crisis. They are blamed for crowded schools when decades of neglect of education have left American schools in place 20 among nations on earth. They are being called vermin, are attacked in hate crimes, and are being treated with contempt in everyday interactions with white (and some black) Americans.
These are the parallels to Nazis’ treatment of Jews, that caused big, mainstream Jewish organizations, such as (but not only) the Anti-Defamation League, to call for an end to hate speech against immigrants, and for civil rights for undocumented people. Look at the Anti-Defamation League website if you think I am drawing inappropriate parallels between the Nazis and present-day anti-Latino Americans.
Why do I even want to draw these parallels? Because they help me understand what is going on. I am trying to understand the scapegoating, the systematic propaganda against Latinos by huge media outlets, the violence, the things both state employees like ICE and civilians like “Minutemen” are capable of. Once it dawned on me that something like this (though not identical) has happened before, I couldn’t stop seeing the parallels.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley “Let Them In” The Case For Open Borders
Let’s deconstruct this.
yes, the Jews from Nazi Germany in the end were taken by train to camps that had large rooms into which they were herded naked, told that they would get a shower, and then killed with poison gas.”
There are no large rooms into which illegal aliens are cast to die from Zyclon B.
“Those camps, like Auschwitz, had large ovens in which the bodies were then burned.”
There are no ovens where bodies are burned.
“This is not being done – and I belive will not be done – to undocumented people here today.”
Nice of you to concede that these demon ICE aren’t actually going to gas and burn illegl aliens, although you may succeed in demonizing these officers of the law.
“But before the Nazis started this – what they called the “final solution” they did other things. These things are being done to undocumented people in the US today.”
Haven’t heard a declaration of a “final solution” yet, but as Laura intimates, that may be premature.
“They stripped Jews, who had been living normal lives as members of the communities, of their civil rights.”
Actually, these people do not have the right to masquerade themselves as citizens, so they really aren’t lawfully members of any American community. There’s a law against posing as a citizen. I haven’t seen any naked Hispanics in any of the newsreels, but I’ll be sure to keep looking.
“They said Jews had no right to be in Germany.”
Well, the Jews you refer to were recognized as lawful citizens of Germany by the rest of the world, so, unlike our immigration authorities, the Nazis were actually stripping them of their nationality. The illegal aliens that are being arrested for identity theft are to be sent to a homeland that they wouldn’t have left if it weren’t for their country’s inept leadership.
“They forbade Jews from going to school, to doctor’s offices, to the movies.”
Again, these were citizens persecuted by their own conuntrymen. Our courts have legislated that illegal alien children be permitted to attend school, so that’s another red herring. Illegal aliens crowd our hospital waiting rooms and use them as sources of primary care, all without payment. The law requires that hospitals give emergency treatment to illegal aliens, so there goes another of your ridiculous statements by the wayside.
“They conducted raids on Jewish homes and businesses and arrested the adults in front of the children. They beat them in detention, and some died.”
Our immigration authorities do arrest adult illegal aliens, sometimes in their homes, but more often at the workplace. Advocates complain about raids in the workplace and at home. The only other alternative is catching them one by one in the street, very impractical as efficiency goes. Considering the huge number of illegal aliens in our system, it’s not odd at all that some die after being apprehended. No doubt some are already sick with some serious illnesss, as is a percentage of those who are in the general population. It’s well known that Hispanics are subject to having high blood pressure. They also have a higher than average frequency of obesity, a major health risk. While I have no doubt that there have been the odd abuses by some authorities, there is no evidence that this is government policy or that it is widespread.
“And before they started doing those things, they began by calling Jews the enemies of Germany.”
Again, this isn’t national policy as it was in Germany, so is an exaggeration.
“They blamed Jews for Germans’ poverty (this was a time of economic crisis and high unemployment).”
Actually, there is a measur of truth that illegal immigrants undercut the wages of citizens with little education. And since we’re in a recession, people are actually becoming unemployed, so it’s natural that citizens don’t like competition from foreigners who are not entitled to be here. How would you feel if an illegl alien was working in the same trade as you, but you were unemployed? Would you feel so egalitarian then?
” They said Jews were an inferior race. They said the goal of Jews was to exploit Germany and enrich themselves from Germans. They said Jews only think of sex and money. They called Jews dirty and they called them vermin.”
Daniel, undocumented people are not killed by poison gas in camps, and I believe never will be. But they die in large “detention facilities,” and their overseers are not investigated or punished. They are hunted in raids and arrested in front of their children. Though they produce huge income for American businesses and use health care facilities dramatically less than Americans do, they are blamed for the health care crisis. They are blamed for crowded schools when decades of neglect of education have left American schools in place 20 among nations on earth. They are being called vermin, are attacked in hate crimes, and are being treated with contempt in everyday interactions with white (and some black) Americans.”
Admittedly there has been a lot of noise, resentment and vitriol towards illegal aliens, but the amount of actual violence is low, considering the situation. The Southern Poverty Law center’s claims were never adjusted for vast increases in the numbers of illegal immigrants over the years, but when this was done, it was proven that there really has not been a real increase in hate crimes toward illegal immigrants at all. One has to look very carefully to find an example that can be conclusively attributed to the category of hate crimes.
“These are the parallels to Nazis’ treatment of Jews, that caused big, mainstream Jewish organizations, such as (but not only) the Anti-Defamation League, to call for an end to hate speech against immigrants, and for civil rights for undocumented people. Look at the Anti-Defamation League website if you think I am drawing inappropriate parallels between the Nazis and present-day anti-Latino Americans.
“Why do I even want to draw these parallels? Because they help me understand what is going on.”
No! You want to blow this way out of proportion to incite other people to get angry and strike out. We see this all the time, in rallies, where the speakers are violent revolutionaries who will say any outrageous statement to agitate the crowds. They feel hopless in the face of failure and are desperate.
“I am trying to understand the scapegoating, the systematic propaganda against Latinos by huge media outlets, the violence, the things both state employees like ICE and civilians like “Minutemen” are capable of. Once it dawned on me that something like this (though not identical) has happened before, I couldn’t stop seeing the parallels.”
Actually, most of the media has been quite tame, with only Lou Dobbs and Fox giving any opposition, and you’ve been trying to silence all opposition, but without success.
You feel that no one’s listening because you’ve been unable to get the general population of Americans in the streets fighting for you. The marches have been solid failures, and this is unnerving to you. Taken together, the failure to silence the opposition, the failure of the marches, the failure to get Americans on your side, have all contributed to your’s and your friend’s bitterness, Laura.
Daniel was right, making off the wall comparisons and exaggerations to the Holocaust, as you’ve done, does little to move your cause forward, but does much to make you a laughing stock.
Laura, you do nothing to help anyone understand what’s going on, but only serve to confuse the issue by comparing it to an irrelevent past. The only commonality immigration law enforcement has with Nazi Germany is the fact that people are arrested. The affects on the separation of families are the result of the actions of the illegal aliens themselves. They may pretend shock, play upon the sympathies of citizens and pretend innocence, but they know exactly how they came to their predicament.
Publius, excellent retort to laura’s ridiculous claims!
Koodos to you also, Horace!
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