Thursday, July 31, 2008

Postville Immigration Rally

Last spring a meatpacking plant in the small town of Postville Iowa {close to my hometown of Decorah} was raided by immigration agents and 400 illegal workers were seized. A New York Times Op-Ed explains what happened next:

Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

Last weekend a protest rally was held in Postville. My mom went and wrote this on Flickr:
I joined 1000 or 1200 others to protest the treatment of immigrant workers at the country's largest kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. Anyone with a heart would cry at the treatment of these people, regardless of your position on immigration. These people were doing the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs and had no understanding of the crimes with which they have been charged. The company officials who knew exactly what was going on are now bringing in homeless people from the streets of Texas to work.

She took some great photos like the one above. Check them all out here.

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