# Immigration Policy

A few links on the anniversary of the Postville raid

One year after federal immigration agents raided the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting nearly 400 immigrants, prayer vigils are planned in Postville and in at least 50 other cities across the country:

“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.


Ever since the raid, pro-immigration groups, including the Catholic church and other religious and political lobbies, have used it to illustrate what they argue is the basic unfairness of punishing illegal immigrants seeking a better life.

To make their point, today they are staging a prayer vigil, news conferences, a blessing for the town and a symbolic march to the Agriprocessors plant.

“We are working hard to raise the national consciousness about the devastation of this raid,” said Sister Mary McCauley. “We are calling for complete immigration reform and an end to the raids. … We can never be proud of what happened here.”

I’M for Iowa sent out an e-mail yesterday about the vigils:

People are asked to gather at St. Bridget’s Church at 4:00 p.m. for a prayer vigil followed by a march to the Agriprocessors plant where the raid took place. Text for the prayer vigil is available for adaptation for local use.

If you aren’t able to travel to Postville, there may be a vigil in your home town, since May 12th has been declared a nationwide day of remembrance to promote awareness of the devastating effects of raids such as this. In Des Moines, Catholic Charities’ Social Justice Consortium will hold an interfaith prayer service at 3:30 at St. Ambrose Church. Contact Sol Varisco at svarisco@dmdiocese.org.

More links are after the jump.

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Agriprocessors responds to Culver's criticism

The owners of Agriprocessors have invited Governor Chet Culver to visit the Postville meat-packing plant he strongly criticized in his guest editorial for the Sunday Des Moines Register.

The invitation was part of a guest commentary from Agriprocessors, which the Register published on Monday. In that piece, the company’s plant manager, Chaim Abrahams, denied most of the allegations concerning labor and safety violations at the plant.

Culver’s office said the governor will not accept the invitation.

In related news, someone asked Barack Obama about the federal raid at the Agriprocessors plant when he was in Davenport on Monday, and he was quite critical of alleged use of child labor without mentioning Agriprocessors by name. An attorney for Agriprocessors issued an angry response to Obama’s comments. The company’s owners have donated primarily to Republican politicians in the past.