This is an amazing article that I came upon from Long Island Wins. They are an amazing organization that provides resources and insight to promote immigration solutions that include and work for everyone. They are the organization that helped Emily Ruiz, the 4 year-old deported U.S. Citizen, re-enter the country this week.
This week, Ted Hesson, the staff writer for Long Island Wins, went down to Guatemala to document Emily’s travel back to the US. Instead of returning home with the Emily and other staffers, he decided to stay and look for other child citizens who had been deported or returned home from the US. What he found was surprising and amazing because it shows the impact that the Federal immigration raids have had on the community. Many wrongly assume that the workers of the raids are deported then return fraudulently again, but that is no longer becoming the case. More and more we are seeing families leave everything the have here, their home, to return with their loved ones back to their homeland.
Ted discovered an entire community in Guatemala from Postville, Iowa. With helicopters, buses and vans, hundreds of Federal officials from ICE together with agents and officers of other federal, state, and local agencies, raided the kosher slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in the early morning hours of May 12, 2008, seizing company records and arresting 389 individuals. According to the U.S. attorney′s office for the Northern District of Iowa, those arrested included “290 Guatemalans, 93 Mexicans, 2 Israelis and 4 Ukrainians”. Eighteen were juveniles.
The raid was the largest single raid of a workplace in U.S. history until that date, and resulted in nearly 400 arrests of immigrant workers with false identity papers who were charged with identity theft, document fraud, use of stolen social security numbers, and other related offenses. 300 workers were convicted on document fraud charges within four days. The majority served a five months prison-sentence before being deported.
Now, an entire community composed of deported workers and their families from Postville, Iowa are talking to Ted about their life in Guatemala and what they families are going through.
This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart as Colorado encountered a similar heartache when ICE and other federal agencies raided the meat packing company in Greeley, Colorado. It is a day I will never forget as they decided to launch their offense on December 12, 2006, a day that is significant and sacred to many Latinos because it is Our Lady of Guadalupe day. The image below had such a profound impact on me because it reminded me of “why” I was in law school.
Ted Hesson and Long Island Win’s work is very important and if you have space in your heart and wallet to donate to this project, then please do.
You can donate online or send a check payable to “Drum Major Institute for Long Island Wins” to 800 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington, NY 11050.