Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remembering a raid

One year ago, some 900 immigration agents descended on a small Iowa community and rounded up nearly 400 illegal immigrants at Agriprocessors Inc., a kosher meatpacking plant.

The Postville raid, one of the largest of its kind in U.S. history, illustrated the country’s intent to enforce immigration laws. But it’s now looked at as how bad the country’s immigration problems have gotten.

Advocates of stricter immigration laws say the government should never have let companies and communities become so dependent on undocumented labor. Critics have used the raid as a rallying cry against unfair treatment of illegal immigrants and a reason for reforming the country’s immigration system.

Dozens of news outlets, big and small, covered the one-year anniversary Tuesday. Here is some of what they reported.

A year later, Iowa raid still marks a flashpoint
The Kansas City Star
While the raid answered the prayers of millions of Americans on the anti-immigration side of the debate, it fed the passions of millions of others who are lobbying for leniency toward undocumented workers.

Indeed, Obama administration officials are now pushing a national immigration policy that will target the employers who hire and sometimes abuse illegal immigrants, more than the illegal immigrants themselves.

“Postville will one day be remembered as a dark chapter in U.S. history that served as a catalyst for reforming our nation’s immigration system into something we can take pride in again,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a nonpartisan, pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.

Whether that reform will ultimately lead to amnesty for the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the United States, or guest worker programs for those who follow, remains to be seen.

But either way — as with most preceding swings in U.S. immigration policy — the question is more likely to be decided by politics and passion than by economics and common sense, observers say.

A travail of two towns

Chicago Tribune

In Postville, a place of proud Midwesterners, many resent being in the spotlight yet are frustrated that more has not been done to offset the unanticipated damage.

When the meatpacking plant, Agriprocessors Inc., opened in the late 1980s, Orthodox Jews arrived to work as kosher butchers and envisioned a rural paradise for new synagogues and religious schools. Migrants, mostly from Guatemala, began arriving in the 1990s -- creating an ethnic stew with natives of mostly Eastern European descent.

After the raid, the family-like community of high school football game gatherings and homey weekend meals at local cafes began to unravel as the plant faltered. Agriprocessors has since gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is up for sale with no apparent buyer.

…Former City Councilman Aaron Goldsmith, an Orthodox rabbi, fumed over the damage. "We still haven't done anything about illegal immigration" in the state, he said. "All we've done is devastate northeastern Iowa."

Photo: Keith Myers
A GPS monitor tracks Nohemi Hurtado as she waits for a decision on her residency status in Postville, Iowa. Daughter Jocelyn Bustamante plays at her feet.


Anonymous said...

Presumably the photo of the GPS monitor is intended to ellicit sympathy... particularly together with the child.

Please spare us the attempt to manipulate our emotions. We can see clearly the negative impact of illegal immigration... not just in the U.S. but in Europe as well.

Borders are intended to keep out people who are not citizens... and who have no business trespassing.

NAFTA was supposed to help those south of the U.S. border. But they still come. Why? Because our duly elected government allows them to. Our citizens allow them to, as well, when they hire illegals to work for 1/4 of what they'd have to pay an American.

So spare us the attempts for a pity party. These people need to go back to their countries of origin and look for work there.

The leeching off of American prosperity needs to end. Now!

Anonymous said...

Who wears jean shorts????

Anonymous said...

The leeching off American prosperity will slow as America's prosperity on the lower end drops.

Soon enough, we'll be a Third World nation for our poor and illegals won't have much reason to come here.

But, by that time, Mexico may be even deeper in the sewer, so who knows.

Anonymous said...

Liberals using pictures and stories of the children who are suffering because of law enforcement should realize that it is the PARENTS who should feel guilty for the position they have put their children in. If they don't care that they are putting their children in a position to have to live under the radar and with fear of being "caught" and deported, and having their family separated, why should everyone else? Is that fear and hiding really creating a better life for their child? Is living under the radar constantly looking over your shoulder setting a good example for your child and teaching them values to live by? It's time to put the blame where the blame belongs and stop trying to make the rest of us feel guilty for something we have no responsibility for.

Anonymous said...

It is too bad they do not have a picture of a precious child (like shown here) as their life is risked (and many have died) by their own parents crossing the desert to break the law and inflict hurt on a country they are in illegally.

Anonymous said...

In the future, please do not use "soft and glossy" photos of illegals and thier childrin.

Instead, show them in pics of reality. Crawling through sewer pipes to cross in illegally. Lying flat for up to 15 hours in the back of a tractor trailer smuggling over here illegally.

I like a good story, however I hate when it's "glossed" over.

Anonymous said...

LOL @ the clown who said NAFTA helped south of the border

Anonymous said...

Facing humanity is not manipulative. If you can't face the humanity in this issue then you close yourself off to one of the reasons why this is happening. Anti-immigrant/anti-illegal immigrant proponents wish to harden their hearts to this problem to the humanity involved because by doing so they it is easier to justify their position of expulsion. This is their sole position and they are hard lined on it. But it fails to solve the problems because the issue of migration is more complex than just borders and laws. Human beings migrate and they have since we left Africa. Only by dealing with the issues of migration, the push causes and the pull causes do we begin to get traction on dealing with it. NAFTA was supposed to create jobs south of the border. What happened was China undercut the cheap wages from Mexican labor by offering virtual slave labor wages.

This isn't pity. It's understanding that people are caught in forces beyond their control.

Anonymous said...

A pathway to legalization is coming whether hard line anti-immigrant/anti-illegal immigrant proponents want it or not. The supporters of expulsion like to be rigid when it comes to laws and borders but when it comes to numbers and math they lose touch with reality. More than 14 million people are here out of status. The vast majority have contributed to our society by paying taxes, raising families, spending their money here, building our homes, schools, roads, and feeding us in all parts of the food processing industry. The fact is these proponents like to imagine an "invasion" but the reality is it was an invitation--by corporate America. They have family here. They are American. They are assimilating. Time to make them full members of our society. As for further migrations--we have seen that the biggest impact on unlawful migration has been the downturn in the economy. Dry up the jobs and people will not come. That has had a more significant impact than the wall, the Minutemen or this idea of attrition and self deportation. Restructure NAFTA to include fair trade agreements and people will stay home.

Anonymous said...

Throw them all in a van and ship them out.

MICHAEL said...

Illegal immigrants are stealing people's identities, ruining their credit, taking the identities of children, too. The ones not using a stolen SS number are not paying taxes. They take jobs and hold down wages in every industry they work. They have become an additional burden to social services, hospitals and our schools. When my parents came to this country from Greece, they did it *LEGALLY*. They had no Greek words plastered on everything and there aren't any special Greek classes in public schools. They had to learn English and they did. I am so tired of this country bending over backwards to make it easy for *illegal* immigrants to invade our country. Enough already. Enforce our laws!

This US accepts more legal immigrants, every single year, than anyother country- 800,000 to 1,000,000.
We don't want legal immigration to stop. But, the overwhleming flood on *illegal* immigrants must stop.
We cannnot afford it, we can barely take care of our own citizens. People need to wake up, stop this insanity.