Months after the largest immigration enforcement raid in history, the tiny community of Postville is still suffering emotionally, economically, and spiritually. Local faith leaders are on the frontlines and have called for the government to witness the consequences of a broken immigration system.
"Our community is worn out after seven months of fear, chaos, and on-going demands," said Rev. David Vasquez of Decorah, Iowa. Working families who were once self-sufficient are now totally reliant on the charity of the church for survival. Agriprocessors plant workers who are now material witnesses in legal proceedings were required to return to the area but are without permission to work. Four thriving Latino evangelical churches in the area disintegrated overnight. One congregation went from more than 200 members to only 12.
Yesterday I moderated a press conference call with Postville-area pastors and two women who were directly impacted by the raid on May 12, 2008. Each of them told their stories and called Congress and the new administration to learn the hard lessons from Postville before it's too late.
Allison Johnson is the campaign coordinator for Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR).