May 12, 2009

THE NATIVISTS HAD TO DESTROY THE ECONOMY TO SAVE THE RACE:

Immigration raid leaves damaging mark on Postville, Iowa: A year after the crackdown at a kosher meatpacking plant, the town is struggling with the bankrupt business, unemployment and high anxiety. (Antonio Olivo, May 12, 2009, LA Times)

Since federal helicopters raced over cornfields on May 12, 2008, en route to arresting 389 illegal workers at a sprawling kosher meatpacking plant, what was a center of commerce in northeastern Iowa teeters toward collapse as the plant sputters in bankruptcy, its managers face prison time and the town fights to stay solvent.

Since the landmark raid, an economic squeeze has destroyed several businesses. Postville's population has shrunk by nearly half, to about 1,800 residents, and townsfolk say the resulting anxiety -- felt from the deli to the schoolyard -- has been relentless.

"It's like you're in an oven and there's no place to go and there's no timer to get you out," said former Mayor Robert Penrod, who, overwhelmed, resigned earlier this year.

The aftermath of the Postville raid has rippled across the country, rupturing the nation's kosher meat supply and setting back Midwest livestock farmers who supplied the plant.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2009 10:43 AM
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