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The Postville Raid24:17
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An immigration rally on July 27, 2008, in Postville, Iowa, held in protest of a federal immigration raid of the local Agriprocessors plant in May. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
An immigration rally on July 27, 2008, in Postville, Iowa, held in protest of a federal immigration raid of the local Agriprocessors plant in May. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

For a tiny town of 2000, Postville, Iowa has been tagged with a lot of superlatives lately. The biggest immigration raid in American history. The biggest Kosher meatpacking plant in the country.

And now, maybe the biggest scandal over slaughterhouse work conditions since Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle."

On May 12, federal agents swooped in to round up nearly 400 mostly Guatemalan immigrant workers for prison time and deportation. Now comes the inside story of coercion, child labor, and cattle guts — a meat hook beating, and workers who say they felt like slaves.

This hour, On Point: The uproar in Postville.Guests:
Julia Preston, national immigration reporter for The New York Times, she has been reporting from Postville, Iowa.
Erik Camayd-Freixas, a federally certified court interpreter, he served as translator for detainees arrested in the Postville raid.
Mark Lauritsen, international vice president and director of the food processing and packing division of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which represents 250,000 meat packers around the country.
Pastor David Vasquez-Levy, campus pastor at Luther College in Decorah, some 20 miles from Postville. He has ministered to the migrant workers at the Agriprocessors plant in Postville, and since the federal raid, he has worked with St. Bridget's Catholic Church in Postville, the migrant workers' church, to help the families of the workers now in jail.

Links:
"After Iowa Raid, Immigrants Fuel Labor Inquiries," by Julia Preston (New York Times)
"An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants," by Julia Preston (New York Times)
Read Erik Camayd-Freixas' personal account of the Postville immigration raid (pdf format)


This program aired on July 29, 2008.

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