POSTVILLE – On May 11, the 10th anniversary of the Postville federal immigration raid will be observed in Postville.
Organizers of the event say it will be a time to remember the 389 people who were arrested May 12, 2008, “as a summons to challenge current anti-immigrant rhetoric and behaviors and to unite in demanding just, humane and comprehensive immigration reform.”
The day will begin with a 10 a.m. interfaith prayer service at St. Bridget Catholic Church. Expected participants include people directly affected by the raid, church representatives who ministered to the immigrants and their families, lawyers and others concerned about immigration reform.
At 11:30 a.m., participants will walk to Meyer Park — close to the site of the raid — for a noon rally. A trumpet fanfare composed by Amy Dunker of Clarke University, “Summoned, Addressed, Commanded,” will be played.
It was the largest single-site immigrant raid up to that time in U.S. history. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials raided Agriprocessors, the main producer of kosher meat in the United States. They handcuffed immigrants and bused them to the National Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo where they were held pending adjudication.
Most detainees were charged with identity theft and sentenced to five months in prison before being deported. In a matter of hours on that day, Postville lost a significant segment of its population and hundreds of families were separated.
Sholom Rusbashkin, owner of Agriprocessors, was convicted and served eight years of a 27-year sentence for bank fraud. His sentence was commuted in December by President Donald Trump.
Event planners are inviting individuals and groups across the country and the world to attend.