This is Tom Tancredo’s OTHER legacy
During a bitter cold January week, penniless women and children stream into a Catholic church in the northeast Iowa town of Postville that has served as their refuge since May 12, when 389 workers were arrested during an immigration raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant. The women are among 26 former Agriprocessors workers, most from Guatemala and Mexico, charged with immigration violations and fighting deportation. Released on humanitarian grounds but required to wear electronic ankle bracelets, the women, as well as about 59 children, now depend on the community, especially St. Bridget’s church, which operates a Hispanic ministry from a worn brick house.
One woman needs medical care for her anxious 12-year-old son, who has started wetting his bed. Another needs legal help for her husband, arrested during a return visit to Agriprocessors by immigration agents last fall. “I am very sad and worried,” says Irma Lopez, 28, a former Agriprocessors worker who remains in limbo with her young daughter while her husband is back in Guatemala, one of many arrested workers deported in October after serving five months in prison. “I worked since I was eight years old and now I feel worthless. I can work but I’m not allowed to.”
Eight months after the Agriprocessors raid, Postville is still grappling with what its leaders call “a humanitarian and economic disaster,” compounded by the recession and a harsh winter. Life isn’t much easier for “legal” workers. Inside a faded community hall serving as a relief center are Michael Barner, 47, and Patricia Williams, 41, who moved to Postville last month to work at Agriprocessors but had to leave their jobs soon after due to illness. They have arrived with an eviction notice and are seeking help to return to Dubuque. “We came here. We tried. I got sick. We just have to go back home,” says Barner.
Even after accounting for the aggressive pro-immigration bias and sob-story nature of this piece, the devastating stupidity of the GOP’s anti-immigration jaunt is apparent.
Furthermore, even if one concedes that the passage of unenforceable laws that no one wants enforced is hypocritical, it does not provide an excuse to execute stupid policy.
My personal opinion is that Bush’s immigration plan had too much immigration and not enough assimilation. That said, the GOP would be in much better shape at this very moment had the party listened to Bush instead of following Tom Tancredo off of the electoral cliff.