CLINIC Echoes Call for Immigration Reform on Anniversary of Postville Raid
Washington, DC: One year ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a meat-packing factory in Postville, IA, and arrested more than 400 undocumented workers. The raid, recorded as the largest worksite action by ICE, left a community shattered as hundreds of families were separated and individual due process rights were abandoned. On the one year anniversary, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) echoes the call of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for comprehensive immigration reform.
"Today's anniversary is a solemn reminder of the need for practical and effective immigration policy, especially as it relates to enforcement. We recognize the need to protect our borders however there must be a balance. Our policies must recognize the dignity of the person, support family retention, as well as the rule of law. Raids do not address the challenges of our broken immigration system," said CLINIC's Chairman Bishop Jaime Soto.
"Recent statements by Secretary Napolitano to review enforcement actions like Postville are encouraging, but there is need for further action," added CLINIC Executive Director Mark Franken. "CLINIC urges government officials to quickly take up the issue of immigration reform and put forward policies that are humane, just, and practical; policies that truly serve the common good."
The ICE raid left lingering effects on the small community and surrounding area. In its wake, immigration advocates have rallied to prepare other communities for similar actions. These preventative steps were well advised since DHS continued to conduct raids. CLINIC, in support of its network of 186 charitable immigration programs, launched a Raids Response and Preparedness Project. The project provides training, support, and guidance to immigration legal services providers and community based organizations.
"This project is important to help our programs be proactive, however, we are hopeful that in the near future, it will no longer be necessary," said Tanisha Bowens, project coordinator. "Families should not be forcibly divided, children should not be traumatically separated, and communities should not be shattered."
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