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Postville Immigration Raid Blog Roundup: Lessons, A Year Later

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Church bells

One year ago yesterday, nearly four hundred immigrant workers were corralled into the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo, Iowa as a part of the now-infamous immigration raid in Postville, Iowa.

The Postville raid was one of the most extreme examples of the misplaced priorities of the Bush Administration when it comes to immigration enforcement, where the prosecution of immigrant workers was prioritized over the enforcement of labor standards and other criminal and civil violations committed by plant managers and owners.

Lynda Waddinton, of the Iowa Independent, covered the story of those who marked the anniversary of the raid with red ribbons and the ringing of church bells yesterday in a post titled, “Remembrance organizers seek to prevent another Postville:”

A year ago today, Sister Mary McCauley, pastoral administrator for the region that includes St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville, was greeted by a parishioner with the following words: “Sister, a terrible thing has happened to our town.”

At the time, according to McCauley, she didn’t fully appreciate how true the parishioner’s words would turn out to be. “A terrible thing did happen to the town of Postville. A terrible thing has happened to our Hispanic brothers and sisters. And I add that a terrible thing has happened to our country,” McCauley said by phone on Monday. […]

The “Day of Remembrance” in Postville began at 10 a.m. — the time the immigration raid began — with the ringing of church bells and the blowing of the shofar, a Jewish horn. Bells toll 389 times at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Postville, once for each worker detained in the raid.

The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Des Moines Register (here, here, here, and here), Waterloo Courier, and Dallas Morning News also reported on Postville and the Day of Remembrance events across the country­­.

Here are just a few of the reactions from the blogosphere:

ImmigrationProf Blog: Postville One Year Later
“No community should have to go through what Postville has had to go through in the past year,” said Maryn Olson, a community activist. […]  Also, people around the country who can’t make it to Postville intend to hold services showing their solidarity, she said. “Postville and what happened here have become a rallying point.”

Standing FIRM: Today Marks One Year since Postville
The town still suffers and some of the immigrants arrested that day are still caught in the limbo of the broken system. So today, in solidarity with Postville, I’m choosing to ACT in the belief that it is up to us to create the change we want. You can too.

  1. Call your Representative or Congressman and tell them that you support Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
  2. Attend a Remembrance Vigil in your area – for a map of vigils click here.
  3. Don a Red Ribbon in solidarity with the Postville community.

Sojo.net: Postcard from Postville: A Year After the Raids
Postville profoundly changed how we look at the problem of immigration in our country, and it became a symbol of a broken system and human suffering. Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform first covered the story of the faith community’s rapid response last May and have returned to Postville this week to continue telling the stories of horror, heroism, and hope.