Postville, Ia. – A year after federal agents seized hundreds of Guatemalan and Mexican meatpacking workers here, people who sympathize with the immigrants prayed for a change of heart in the United States.
“As proclaimers of God’s word, it is our duty to sound a call for justice. It is our privilege to welcome the stranger,” Archbishop Jerome Hanus told a packed interfaith service at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church. “It is our challenge to bring good news to the poor. This, my friends, is our time. This is our moment. This is our year of favor.”
Hanus, who leads the Dubuque Archdiocese, said the United States must pass more humane immigration laws. “We must work so that there would no longer be any immigration raids – no more immigration raids to traumatize a people, to separate families, to destroy businesses, to shatter towns and to scar hearts forever.”
Hanus spoke at an afternoon service held as part of a day of remembrances of the May 12, 2008, raid at Agriprocessors. Organizers said numerous smaller services were held around the country Tuesday to mark the day.
A few dozen of those arrested remain in the Postville area, either because their cases are pending or because the government wants them to testify at the fraud and conspiracy trials of the company’s former leaders. Tuesday’s service included artwork and personal stories from a few of them.
Don’t they already have a more humane law in place, called becoming a United States Citizen? A more humane law for illegal immigrants? Why, if you are here illegally do you have any rights anyway?
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