Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Year Without a Mexican: The Debilitating Loss of Economic Lifeblood

Why, residents ask themselves over and over, should local institutions bear all the financial and social costs? "It's outrageous," said Sol Varisco, who works with refugees and immigrants for Catholic Charities at the Des Moines diocese. "Is this how we enforce the law? Leave the churches and nonprofits to pick up the pieces?"

by Marcelo Ballve, Mother Jones
April 8, 2009

It all began with the whir and flicker of helicopters on May 12, 2008, an incongruous sound in a tiny Iowa town tucked amid cornfields. All over Postville, people craned their necks from orderly lawns, phones rang, and gossip flew. Reverend Stephen Brackett, the town's Lutheran pastor, was on his day off and didn't hear the helicopters at first, but when his church secretary called to tell him something unusual was happening, he at once suspected what it was. For years, there were rumors that the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant at the edge of town was under scrutiny by immigration authorities. Later that morning, Brackett's wife called with confirmation: She'd spotted two helicopters and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in jackets and flak vests down by the slaughterhouse. [...]

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