A project of the Center for Community Change

Postville: Leaders Urging for an end to the Raids, while some want to perpetuate the cycle

More than 6 months after the devastating ICE raid in Postville, Iowa, the tiny town is still a buzzing epicenter of the immigration debate.

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Last Wednesday, religious leaders gathered to urge officials from both sides of the aisle in Washington to visit the town and see they aftermath of the tragedy themselves. They also called for an end to the violent ICE raids that have been tearing apart families and destroying communities all across the country.

“Postville is an incredible example of the aftermath and effects” of the irreparable damage an immigration raid can do to a town, he said. The U.S. senators from Iowa, Tom Harkin…

The Rev. David Vasquez was less charitable about the federal actions. The Luther College campus pastor called Postville “the whipping boy” of the government’s “misguided immigration policies,” with a raid set up to serve as an example to other industries that employ immigrants.

Meanwhile, it seems as though some officials in Iowa are continuing to cover their eyes to the realities of the current immigration system. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) praised the raid in Postville, calling it a “step in the right direction” for immigration policy in the United States.

Jeff Tilson police chief of Vinton, a small Iowa town, has said that he will work to ensure that the town doesn’t become “another Postville”. But his tactics are completely ignoring the realities of the broken system.

“The laws on the books work just fine,” Tilson [said]. “We just have to enforce them. I always tell people that I cannot create an environment where crime can’t exist, but I can try to create one where crime won’t exist. We have taken a pretty aggressive stand on illegal immigration.”

It looks like Tilson will be cracking down on immigrants in his small town – a move that is sure to push them even further into the shadows. I’m not sure which policies he’s looking at, but the laws on the books do NOT work just fine, they are outdated, unrealistic and costly (for both communities and the immigrants targeted).

It is time that people woke up to the reality of the current system. We have to find sensible solutions, that include a reform at the Federal level. Until then, these folks will just be perpetuating the cycle of injustice, pain and alienation facing immigrants in the United States today.

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