Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The first anniversary of the Postville immigration raid

Photo used under Creative Commons from takomabibelot

A year ago yesterday, the largest immigration raid in U.S. history occurred in Postville, Iowa. This immigration raid was different because it was the first time the federal government pushed for mass prosecutions against the workers for allegedly violating federal identify theft statutes. Many of the undocumented workers, who may have not actually violated the criminal statutes, pled guilty in lieu of risking lengthy prison sentences. The U.S. Supreme Court curtailed this practice in a recent ruling that you can read about in the May 4, 2009 posting. Those workers that pled guilty were jailed and then were removed back to their home countries as felons. With felony convictions, these workers will probably never be able to return to the United States legally. This has left families devastated and broken. The American Immigration Lawyers Association's Blog has a very moving post where they reprint a letter from Pedro Arturo Lopez Vega, an eighth grader whose mother was deported in the raid. This young man graduates from middle school on May 29, 2009. All he wants is a 3 day visa for his mother so she can watch him graduate from middle school to high school.

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