The Common Good

Leaders Call for Immigration Reform on One Year Anniversary of Postville Immigration Raid

Date: May 12, 2009

For Immediate Release: Contact: Allison Johnson

May 12, 2009 612-804-4766

Leaders Call for Immigration Reform on One Year Anniversary of Postville Immigration Raid

More than 40 Commemoration Vigils around the Country Raise Awareness of Devastating Raid Impacts

Postville, IA - Today, one day before the one-year anniversary of the devastating Postville immigration raid, faith and labor leaders hosted a press call to highlight the need for immigration reform. Leaders discussed the long term effects immigration raids have had on their communities and announced over 40 vigils and services taking place nationwide in commemoration of the May 12th, 2008 Postville raid. Events around the country will feature ringing of church bells and calls for worker justice, family unity and just and humane immigration reform.

"As we commemorate this anniversary we stand in solidarity with the 389 workers who were detained, said Sister Mary McCauley, BVM, Pastoral Administrator for St. Bridget's Parish in Postville at the time of the raid. "We vigorously call for comprehensive immigration reform, just labor practices, family reunification and an end to raids. We cannot permit what happened in Postville, Iowa on May 12, 2008 to happen to another town or group of people. It is our hope that the tragedy of Postville will bring about a change in our immigration law.”

Mark Lauritsen, International Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Director of its Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division continued by saying "it is important that we take time not only to remember the tragic outcome of the raids, and to offer our prayers to the families and workers, but that we also use this historical marker as an opportunity to chart a new course for the future-One that includes comprehensive immigration reform and aggressive enforcement of our nation's labor laws.”

Lauritsen concluded, "the raids in Postville and across the country will go down as a dark period in our nation's history. The Bush Administration's heavy handed enforcement tactics left in its wake devastated communities and broken families. They did nothing to fix our broken immigration system or to protect the vulnerable men, women and children who are exploited by bad employers.

Lauri Lowell, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New Haven highlighted that "municipalities have a difficult time trying to encourage civic involvement and cooperation with local law enforcement with a community of residents who are living in the shadows, so to speak. But when New Haven tried to rectify this problem by instituting the Elm City Resident Card, ICE raided the immigrant community within 36 hours. It certainly seemed as though the federal government was sending a message to other local governments not to follow New Haven's lead.”

Father Marc Fallon of Catholic Social Services of New Bedford, MA continued, "the Supreme Court decision last week, which rejected the federal identity theft charges of the immigrants detained in Postville, reflects the unwillingness of ICE to consider from the outset the lived realities of immigrant workers. Of 361 workers detained in the New Bedford, MA, raid, over 200 have either been released for custodial care of minor children or in the process of normalizing their status or applying for political asylum.”

To listen to the press call recording please visit www.sojo.net/postville. Below, is a list of Commemoration Vigils happening nationwide on the one-year anniversary of the Postville immigration raid.

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May 12, 2009, Day of Action and Remembrance

In Commemoration of Postville, IA

Events around the country

Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community

San Diego, CA

Echo Park United Methodist Church

Los Angeles, CA

Grace Cathedral

San Francisco, CA

DeMarillac Academy

San Francisco, CA

Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Berkeley, CA

Our Lady of Soledad

Coachella, CA

American Friends Service Committee, 11901 E 30th Ave

Aurora, CO

NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby

Washington, DC

Postville, various locations

Postville, IA

Blessed Sacrament Church

Waterloo, IA

St. Ambrose Cathedral

Des Moines, IA

Our Lady of Lourdes Church

Bettendorf, IA

Catholic Diocese of Sioux City

Sioux City, IA

The Canticle Retreat Center

Clinton, IA

Clinton Franciscan Motherhouse

Clinton, IA

Humboldt Park United Methodist Church

Chicago, IL

Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Federal Plaza

Chicago, IL

Immigrant Justice Advocacy Movement, Washington Park/

3801 Strong Ave

Kansas City, KS

Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church

Wyoming, MI

Sisters of Mercy

Hamtramack, MI

Ramsey County Jail

St. Paul, MN

Loretto Center

St. Louis, MO

Nerinx Hall High School

St. Louis, MO

IJAM, 2345 Grand Blvd

Kansas City, MO

St. Henry Church

Bayonne, NJ

New Jersey State House

Trenton, NJ

CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition

Salem, OR

TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition

Knoxville, TN

The chapel at St. Dominic's Villa

Houston, TX

Northwest Detention Center

Tacoma, WA

First Methodist Church

Appleton, WI

School Sisters of Notre Dame Motherhouse

Milwaukee, WI

St. Adalbert Catholic Church

Milwaukee, WI

St Norbert Abbey

Green Bay, WI