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Old 08-26-2008, 09:35 AM   #1
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Default Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

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PERRY, Iowa (AP) - Immigration agents had barely left Postville when word hit Perry, about 200 miles to the southwest, that another raid was coming.

The rumor, which turned out to be false, spread like prairie fire through this central Iowa city's Hispanic community, reflecting a new reality for many small towns that can't be shaken.

In places like Perry, where Hispanics now make up at least a quarter of the population, residents are left wondering, "Are we next?"

"We are more vulnerable now," asked Angelica Cardenas, 28, who works in Perry's school system. "There is always fear of something like this, but with these raids, we know now it's real."

The government's shift to high-profile immigration raids - 389 people were arrested at Postville's Agriprocessors Inc. on May 12, and 350 were rounded up at Howard Industries Inc. of Laurel, Miss., on Monday - has instilled fear in towns across the country.

"These raids have really highlighted the difficulties towns face in this situation," said Ana-Maria Garcia Wahl, an associate professor of sociology at Wake Forest University who studies immigration issues in the Midwest and South. "I'm not sure all of these towns have an ability to cope and provide the crisis intervention."

Postville has lost more than a quarter of its pre-raid population of 2,300. Besides the detained workers, scores more fled or went into hiding.


People were pushed out of jobs and homes. Children were separated from parents. Businesses verged toward collapse.


Like Postville, Perry has been subjected to a sweeping demographic shift brought on by a meatpacking plant on the outskirts of town.

The Hispanic community in the city, which has about 7,600 residents, has grown gradually over the past 20 years, officials said.

"It's a different community than when I was growing up, for sure," said Brett Roberts, who works at an insurance company in Perry. "That's not a bad thing, but it's a fact."

The city's relatively newfound diversity can be seen on the streets, where the six-block downtown is home to a half-dozen Hispanic businesses, including a popular Mexican restaurant and a bakery a few doors down.

The plant that attracted most of the Hispanics sits a little more than a mile away. It was built by Oscar Mayer and has been around for decades, though its ownership has switched hands several times.

Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), which took over the plant in 2001, uses it to produce pork products. With about 1,200 workers, the plant is Perry's largest employer.

When Mayor Viivi Shirley watched TV news reports of the Postville raid, one of her first thoughts was, "Thank God it wasn't Perry."

Soon after hearing about the raid at Agriprocessors, where more than half the employees were found to be illegal immigrants, Shirley sought out the Tyson plant's manager to ask about the legal status of its workers.

She left that meeting satisfied that Tyson's house was in order, but she was still unnerved by the thought of a raid in her town. Shirley said she's proud of the way newer Hispanic residents have melded with Perry's older, mostly Caucasian residents and fears a raid would undo years of progress.

For their part, Tyson officials say they are confident their workers are in the country legally.

Applicants must go through a federally backed immigration verification system, Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said. The company's starting wages range from $10 to $13.65 an hour, with benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations and holidays.

"We have zero tolerance for employing people who are not authorized to work in the U.S. and use all available tools provided by the U.S. government to verify the documents of the people we hire," Mickelson said.

He said audits at Tyson facilities are conducted regularly, including some by an outside company.

Shirley and others in town are not naive.

Police Chief Dan Brickner is matter of fact when asked if there are illegal residents in the city: "Yeah. I'm sure there are."

After seeing two large-scale raids in Iowa in a little more than a year - Agriprocessors and a meatpacker in Marshalltown - Perry officials recently made preparations for handling one in their town.

School Superintendent Randy J. McCaulley said the school system has an emergency plan in place for an immigration raid, just as it does for other possible calamities, such as a tornado, fire or intruder.

Parents have received a note seeking clarification of their emergency contact information and reassuring them that students will be kept safe in the event of raid.

Still, fear lingers among Perry's Hispanic community.

"You can see that people are more scared in general," said Rosa Gonzalez of the advocacy group Hispanics United for Perry. "Some of them, they don't even tell you directly but people don't go outside like they used to and things like that."


Wendy Goodale, director of Perry's Chamber of Commerce, said Hispanics have helped revive the community, giving local businesses a boost while many rural areas have struggled through tough economic times.

She thinks it could be a crippling blow to Perry if something pushed the Hispanic population out of town.

"It's such a huge chunk of our community," Goodale said. "It would be a huge hit to our community, culturally, economically, our businesses, our people - a huge hit."

http://apnews.excite.com/article/200...D92Q0QJ06.html
What do you guys think? Are those raids are gonna do more damage in smaller communities than benefiting them?
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Old 08-26-2008, 11:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

If they raid and find illegals they must be deported. that is the law. It allows for legal immigrants and workers to get jobs at appropriate rates, and pay scales, hence putting more money into the community, instead of watered down wages that help no one in the long run.
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Old 08-26-2008, 12:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

I agree. If the raids are to find illegal immigrants and take them off US soil, then I'm not opposed to it.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

Not opposed to it here. I've seen it when immigration hits a field full of illegals and its kinda comical. Looks like a bunch of jack rabbits scattering.
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:42 PM   #5
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

I think they need to step up the raids.

deport every last illegal alien...

and at the same time, work harder and more diligently to allow for legals to cross the border.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

Yup, that's the way to do it. Let's deport all 10 million illegals 289 at a time in uber-expensive raids set-up by our super-efficient government. It'll only cost 500 trillion dollars and take 500 years, but, hey...

This isn't the answer, either...it's just some pub to sooth the savage beast.
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:41 PM   #7
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

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Yup, that's the way to do it. Let's deport all 10 million illegals 289 at a time in uber-expensive raids set-up by our super-efficient government. It'll only cost 500 trillion dollars and take 500 years, but, hey...

This isn't the answer, either...it's just some pub to sooth the savage beast.
Or better yet let's spend the same money letting the welfare and health care systems take care of them for free!
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Old 08-26-2008, 03:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

We are using a broken wrench to repair a broken pipe. The result? The pipe stays broken, and lots and lots of time and effort and energy (and money) are expelled in a lost cause.

There has to be a better and smarter way...
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
We are using a broken wrench to repair a broken pipe. The result? The pipe stays broken, and lots and lots of time and effort and energy (and money) are expelled in a lost cause.

There has to be a better and smarter way...
I think this is PART of the solution, but not the entire solution. Reducing aid to Mexico and threatening to dump the illegal immigrants in our jails in Mexico if they don't work on their side of the problem is part of the solution as well.

So is placing a lot more consulates in Mexico and re-writing the immigration laws to be fair and straight-forward part of the solution.

however, I want to see the EXACT same punishments on Europeans that may enter illegally through Canada.

i don't care about race. I care about my laws not being broken.
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Town wonders if it's next to face immigration raid

My philosophy is, "If you sneak into the country, f*ck you."

Some people like to bitch and moan about our immigration laws, saying things like, "OMG HOW CAN U B SO MEAN THESE R PPL WITH JOBS & FAMILIES OMG!!11!1111"

But seriously, it has been my experience that most people who have that attitude are people who just like to complain about how awful America is because it's the "in" thing to do and makes them sound deep and oh-so-counterculture.
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