deportations – Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop Chicago Community Stories Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 “Devastation and fear”: a film on Postville Tue, 19 Jul 2011 17:39:38 +0000 A new film brings out the poignant human stories behind the headlines about the May 12, 2008 immigration raid on the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa.  Please watch this trailer:

Filmmaker Luis Argueta will speak at a Chicago screening of “abUSed: The Postville Raid,” joined by local immigration rights activists who traveled to Postville to support victims of the raid and by Rev. Steve Brackett of the St. Paul Lutheran Church of Postville.

The screening takes place Wednesday, July 20, at 5 p.m. at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th Street.

The largest workplace raid in U.S. history was intended as a “pilot” to be replicated across the country, according to the film, but instead it generated widespread criticism.

The film addresses the humanitarian crisis created by the raid as well as the constitutional and human rights issues raised by assembly-line prosecutions and deportations that resulted.

One thing that comes across clearly is the terror experienced by parents and children concerned about their family members.  One local church volunteer sums it up: “Devastation and fear.”

Agriprocessors owner Sholom Rubashkin was convicted of fraud in June 2010 and sentenced to 27 years in prison.  No charges were filed concerning widespread wage, health and safety, and child labor violations.

Members of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs were among those who responded to the raid at the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, helping to organize a massive protest and returning regularly with resources for food, shelter, and legal assistance.

The raid “cast a spotlight on how broken our immigration system is,” and “seeing the devastation to the families and the impact on the whole town’s economy” spurred JCUA to make immigration reform a priority, said Jane Ramsey, executive director of the group.

In 2009, JCUA helped launch a national Jewish Campaign for Immigration Reform.

“We are quite unhappy with the escalation of deportations” under the Obama administration, Ramsey said.  “It’s only exacerbating the problem.”

Brackett is a leader of the Postville Community Benefits Alliance, which has sought unsuccessfully to open a dialogue with the plant’s new owners.  Ramsey said Brackett has told her many of the old problems at the plant are returning, including wage and safety issues.

Chicagoans to march in Postville Wed, 23 Jul 2008 03:40:59 +0000 Members of Chicago’s Jewish and immigrant communities will travel to Postville, Iowa, to participate in an interfaith service, march and rally for immigrant rights on Sunday. On Saturday, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will be there for a fact-finding visit.

On May 12 Postville was the scene of the largest immigration raid in the nation’s history. Nearly 400 immigrant workers were detained at the AgriProcessors plant, the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, and nearly 300 now await deportation.

That leaves families with over 500 children with no income and struggling to survive, said Tom Walsh of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs. He travelled to Postville with other JCUA staff earlier this month to deliver funds from a humanitarian drive the group is conducting for the families of detainees; they went with attorneys from the National Immigrant Justice Center of Chicago’s Heartland Alliance who provided legal assistance.

There’s a pervasive sense of fear in Postville’s Latino community following the raid, Walsh said. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before,” he said.

JCUA is cosponsoring Saturday’s events along with St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville, the campus ministry of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and Jewish Community Action in St. Paul. They’re calling for comprehensive immigration reform, family reunification, and just labor practices.

“We have a national immigration policy that is completely flawed,” said Walsh. “And it’s fixable. Why don’t we fix it?”

An interfaith service at St. Bridget’s, 135 Williams in Postville, is planned for 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, followed by a march through the town and a rally with speakers including victims of the raid.

On Saturday, Gutierrez, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s immigration committee, will visit Postville along with Reps. Joe Baca, CHC chair, and Albio Sires, to meet with workers at the AgricProcessors plant, detainees and their children (some of them U.S. citizens) and religious and community leaders.

“An immigration system that is predicated on fear tactics and piecemeal, deportation-only policies profoundly worsens our immigration crisis by creating broken homes and tearing the fabric of our society,” Gutierrez said in a statement. “We have seen exactly that in Postville.”