Immigration reform is on the minds of some residents of Postville, IA today as they observe the anniversary of one of the nation’s largest immigration raids. It was one year ago today that the community of Postville was rocked by the immigration raid on the Agriprocessors meat packing plant in Postville. With warrant in hand the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended upon this small Iowa community to conduct an immigration raid on the kosher meatpacking plant. In the course of the investigation ICE apprehend hundreds of individuals on the suspicion of identity theft and illegal immigration. Over the last year many of the individuals that were apprehended have been convicted and deported to their country of origin. But that was only part of the story as the CEO of Agriprocessors was has also been apprehended and charged with a variety of crimes. Without a doubt the raid and subsequent prosecutions are a clear victory for law and order in the US.
The opponents of the raids do not seem to agree with this sentiment though. Opponents of the ICE enforcement efforts have apparently erected a billboard across from the Agriprocessors plant with the comment “ICE raids destroy communities.” What these people fail to grasp is that the individuals apprehended in the raid violated federal laws. By demonizing the men and women tasked with enforcing the law they romanticize and elevate lawlessness.
For whatever reason, the people protesting and rallying in Postville fail to see where the fault lies in their dilemma. They misplace the guilt onto the men and women of ICE by making their absurd claim that ICE raids destroy communities. For some odd reason they fail to see that the root of their problem does not stem from enforcement of the law, but the violation of the law. This despite the fact that each and every individual that has been deported was tried and convicted in a court of law.And so they continue to push for their version of immigration reform which in reality is not reform, it is total capitulation of U.S. law. At the end of the day what these protesters are really calling for is complete immigration lawlessness.
Postville… Postville, IA. A small town in Iowa now well known- not for flood or tornado damage but, according to the May 12, 2008 Des Moines Register, as the site of “the largest work place raid in Iowa history. “(Now the “largest workplace immigration raid in U.S. history.” DM Sunday Register, July 27, 2008 )
Postville with a population estimated to be 2,000 in July of 2006. The home of Agriprocessors Inc.
Much information has been in the news about the raid, strong feelings for and against what U. S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement did on that May 12 day and what has happened in the ten weeks following the raid. Reading accounts in the newspapers and hearing reports on the radio leaves me with a wide variety of thoughts and emotions. As readers of this post, I would imagine that you would have strong feelings as well. My intent here is not to debate but to point out two observations.
#1. In the Monday, July 28 DM Register article “More than 1,000 Midwesterners unite to back immigrant workers”, I learned that of the 1,000 demonstrators , which included ‘hundreds of people bused in from Chicago and Minneapolis areas’, there were ‘about 100 counter-protesters’. State troopers and police kept the two groups separate.
Okay- we would not want anything to happen with such an even distribution of demonstrators! But it was the last two paragraphs that said a lot to me.
“The Rev. Paul Ouderkirk, who ministers at St. Bridget’s (Catholic Church), said he was surprised by the counter-protesters.”
“I don’t see what the purpose is,” he said. “Why would they protest a peaceful demonstration? They must not have much to do.”
“They must not have much to do.” Tell me, Rev. Ouderkirk, with people bused in from near and far, guess your group didn’t have much to do but to take the scenic route to rural Iowa to rally for something they believe to be unjust and unfair. Are you forgetting that this is America and that two sides of any issue can be in the same Iowa town, especially when there are state troopers and police to keep everyone safe? Did not the ’100 counter-protestors’ have the equal right to express their strong views about the illegal immigration and labor issues that have been so often in the news?
#2. According to the (Cedar Rapids) “Gazette Online”, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were to visit Postville on Sunday, July 27. They wanted to talk to residents about the impact of the May 12 raid of Agriprocessors.
The article states that “Fourth District U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, whose district includes the plant” would not be part of the visit but he “has met with Hispanic caucus member Rep. Luis Gutierrez to give him a “primer” on the community – the history, the diversity, how it’s changed, according to staff member James Carstensen.”
According to Carstensen “Anytime a congressman from outside the state takes an interest in Iowa, it’s beneficial.”
Yes, it surely is beneficial when according to the Gazette article Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, believes that “the raid signaled an unwelcome shift in immigration policy.”
I seriously hope, Rep. Tom Latham, that you gave Rep. Gutierrez an accurate and well-informed update on what Iowans think about the events in Postville. I, for one, will be interested in what you had to say to a Chicago Democrat about Postville, Iowa.