Sunday, July 13, 2008

"They crossed a line in Postville." Let's thank Bush.

A New York Times editorial today reinforces yesterday's article on Erik Camayd-Freixas, the translator-educator & professional translator of 23 years who speaks truth to power about the justice(?) process the apprehended workers experienced. The 14 page article he authored about it shocked his profession and is reverberating into Congress.
Quoting the Times:
Dr. Camayd-Freixas’s essay describes “the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see” — because cameras were forbidden.

“Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”

He wrote that they had waived their rights in hopes of being quickly deported, “since they had families to support back home.” He said that they did not understand the charges they faced, adding, “and, frankly, neither could I.”

The Times editorial suggests that the Bush administration succumbed to pressure by immigration extremists in ICE's show of power against people who faked identities--but not to fraud or to rob, but simply to earn money for their families. In the video posted on the site of yesterday's article*, the professor-translator tells the Times that the workers did not even know what social security numbers were (thereby invalidating the "intent to fraud" necessary in a conviction of this crime). He felt certain they were honest when admitting this because, "They spoke with shame, as though they were embarrassed by their ignorance."

Workers received a 5 month sentence for a guilty plea. A "not guilty" plea required 6-8 months of jail time while waiting for a trial which, if lost, would entail two years in prison. However, the workers' guilty plea and resultant jail sentence leaves their families in Postville stranded without income. This entire situation is intolerable.

*I urge you to follow the link and view the video. These links are time-sensitive.

6 comments:

FranIAm said...

Border Explorer- glad you saw that the post is up.

If you can, please email me at some point - festinalente07 at gmail dot com.

If you don't wish, that is cool, just wanted to communicate off blog a bit.

Peace to you.

D.K. Raed said...

B.Exploer, I was just gonna leave a brief comment, so you'd know I'd been around, something about this whole FUBAR situation (like you don't already know that) .... but then I was arrested by the artwork you have up on the right side:

"Towards a New Dawn" by the appropriately named Beatriz Aurora ... I love it! And I do so hope we are sailing towards a new dawn. And I hope the chained & jailed immigrants can find some similar image to keep their hopes alive during these dark times.

eProf2 said...

BE, I'm glad several bloggers onto the Iowa story. This is what I posted at her page: "Unfortunately, Fran, this same thing has been repeated and repeated and repeated again here in AZ. True, the size of the roundup or scale is much larger in Iowa than in AZ but by the time you add up all the arrests, broken homes, broken dreams, and broken local economies the numbers are probably larger in AZ; it's just that we don't see it on the same scale as in Iowa. The Patriot Act makes us all vulnerable, as does the new FISA act, thanks to Bush, the Democrats, and our new agent of change, Obama. As Border Explorer has so well stated: more "terrorists" come through Canada and more "illegals" are from over staying their visas; yet, the war on border crossers continues. I hope you watched the PBS POV documentary this past Tuesday, The Ballad of Elequiel Hernandez, for just one example of Bush's military working on the border -- or not!

Border Explorer said...

D.K., I probably shouldn't admit in public that I had to Google "FUBAR." But when I discovered what it meant I enjoyed a great laugh attack. Thanks! That names U.S. immigration policy to a "T." Which is, I suppose, why the politicians and candidates all run full tilt away from dealing with it.

Glad you like the art too...and I love the connection of her name and the piece title (a connection I hadn't made). Thanks. I needed something hopeful on top of all the problems in that column. Beatriz is an artist in Chiapas, Mexico who has done some illustration for the Zapatistas. I've met some of her family when I was in San Cristobal de las Casas.

DivaJood said...

"Give Me Your Tired, And Your Poor,
Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Breathe Free..." unless they come from Latin American countries.

Border Explorer said...

Diva, you got that right.

eProf, astute observation as usual: one huge exhibition raid in IA might be showy for ICE, but it should not overshadow all the many smaller raids all told. If numbers be counted, the damage numbers would likely be shocking.

Sorry I missed the PBS special since I'm not organized here yet to videotape and the show broadcast here at 10:30 PM Sunday night. No pude hacerlo. Not at that hour. I hope to see it sometime in the future, tho.