Illegal Protest

Illegal Protest
American Citizens who are tired of the illegal alien invasion

Department of Homeland Insecurity Gives WORK VISAS to ARRESTED ILLEGAL ALIENS

April 2nd, 2009

I am beyond spitting mad as should you be. Unemployment is at what - 8% or more? - and this douche bag Janet Napolitano - is giving freaking Temporay WORK VISAS to illegal aliens picked up in a raid on a Bellingham, Washington raid last month.  Are you kidding me?  What is going on in this country?   Douche Bag Janet Napolitano Why don’t we just send freaking BUSES to Mexico and make it easier for them to come here and take American jobs???? Why don’t we send them gilded invitations?  This woman is even more dangerous and stupid than our current President!  We need to march on Washington and kick her out of her office along with every other God damned traitor who tries to call themselves our representatives. She works for us and she is FIRED.

Read it for yourself and see if it doesn’t make your blood simply BOIL. Here are the numbers to call when your blood does boil.

DHS Operator:             202-282-8000

DHS Comment Line:   202-282-8495

DHS FAX:                     202-282-8401


Homeland Security Frees 27 Illegal Immigrants, Sends Them Back to Work

SEATTLE — The Department of Homeland Security freed 27 illegal immigrants arrested during a workplace raid in February and offered them legal work permits, signaling a major departure from the immigration enforcement policy of the Bush administration.

The Feb. 24 raid of an auto parts plant in Bellingham, Wash., netted 28 illegal immigrants. While one was deported, the remaining workers were released from custody and given employment authorization documents, or EADs, in exchange for cooperating with an ongoing investigation of their employer, Yamato Engine Specialists.

The EAD is a temporary work permit most commonly given to people applying for green cards or citizenship. It usually lasts for one year, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) sources tell FOX News that these work permits will expire when the case against Yamato is closed.

Immigrant rights activists support the move and the new direction Secretary Janet Napolitano is taking the Homeland Security Department with her focus on penalizing employers rather than the immigrants themselves.

“She is crafting and the people in her department are crafting a strategy that could target some people who are abusive and manipulative as employers,” said Pramila Jayapal, executive director of the Seattle-based immigrant aid group OneAmerica.

But critics say the softened policy will increase the number of illegal immigrants entering the country.

“The signal that it sends to illegal immigrants is that if you can get here, you’re pretty much home free,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The Bellingham raid was the first and only mass arrest of immigrants since President Obama took office and came as a shock to Napolitano, who ordered a review of the incident the day after.

“I didn’t know about it beforehand,” she told the House Homeland Security Committee the morning following the raid. “I want to get to the bottom of this as well.”

The response from the Department of Homeland Security marks a major shift from the last years of the Bush administration, when workplace arrests of illegals were commonplace.

Criminal arrests of employers who hired illegal immigrants skyrocketed from 25 in 2002 to 1,103 in 2008. The number of deportations jumped from 485 to 5,184 over that same time period. The Obama administration has sought a freeze on immigrant arrests.

Enforcement advocates say Americans should be outraged by the government giving illegal immigrants a right to work when unemployment is so high for documented workers.

Unemployment in Whatcom County, home to the Yamato plant, has risen to 8.1 percent, and in the days after the Yamato raid, more than 150 people applied for the jobs made open by the arrests.

Immigrant groups say the release was a humane act that is keeping families together and allowing them to earn a decent living.

Secretary Napolitano is expected to soon formally announce new guidelines for workplace immigration enforcement. [oh great]

An I.C.E source in Washington D.C. disputes the claim that this marks a new policy telling FOX News the work permits are issued as an investigative tool to get cooperation from the illegal immigrants.

You may remember Janet Napolitano as Governor of Arizona where she REJECTED Proposition 200, that got 56% of the vote by Arizona citizens.
Not to mention that Janet Napolitano, as Governor of Arizona, also showed her complete FAILURE to enforce immigration laws in a border state, by the sheer numbers of illegal aliens flooding into Arizona every day. I think she might have tied with John McCain for failing to enforce immigration laws while representing a border state… along with Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Gee why don’t we just go and hire Mexicans to run the governments of our border states - it would probably be CHEAPER and we would get the SAME RESULT.

Truly, the nuts are running the asylum… Wake up Americans - your country is slipping more from your grip EVERY DAY.

*Update*   Found this very interesting followup to the story from the Seattle Times
Excerpts of interest:

The workers arrested in February were suspected of being in the country illegally. ICE officials said at the time that many of the workers used fake Social Security numbers and other counterfeit documents to obtain jobs.

Guillen said two were deported, but many were released last week and given permission to work. “They’re being offered work permits to work anywhere,” she said.

Makalai told the Herald the company is enrolled in the e-Verify, an online system employers can use to check the Social Security numbers of job applicants.

So.. doesn’t this essentially indict the E-Verify system as being totally useless if it cannot detect FAKE SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS????
Yet another example of good intentions by the government but epic failure in execution.  In my opinion, Yamato Engine Specialists are innocent because they used E-Verify and that system did not detect the fake social security numbers. It is the government which should be indicted in its complete, abject FAILURE at ENFORCING IMMIGRATION LAW.

 

ABC Show “What Would You Do” Opens 2009 Season with Anti-American Topic

January 6th, 2009

So now we have ABC apparently wanting Americans to just sit back and take it from the invading hordes of illegal alien Mexicans. This is revealed in their season opener of What Would You Do where they setup regular Americans in New Jersey to get them to react to illegal alien non-English speaking day laborers. The SLANT is - you Americans who don’t like them are RACISTS.  Nevermind that these illegals have come here with TOTAL disrespect for our laws. They take from our social services, our hospitals our public housing and they give NOTHING BACK. They send their extra money home to Mexcio or Guatemala instead of into the American economy. I can’t imagine why Americans are pissed off at that can you?  Well apparently ABC is cluelss and so is John Quinones who is himself of Mexican heritage and apparently he is totally sympathetic to the invading hordes of Mexicans - most of whom feel we stole the American southwest from Mexico and they are BREEDING and INVADING their way to taking it back from us by simple majority of population.

See the video snippet on this here

I watched the first ten minutes of this waste of space show and got so angry I almost got out a hammer to destroy my television - which probably would not be a bad idea since it is the biggest piece of garbage furniture in my home.

You better believe Americans are ANGRY at having illegal alien Mexicans invade their communities and have them bringing identity theft rings, prostitution rings, drug rings - to their towns - all across America. I predict that this anger will soon boil over - as soon as McStain and his other traitor friends get working on another amnesty for illegals - yep - I think that will be the tipping point for Americans and I’d have to say - if you are an illegal alien it might be time for you to think about going home before it’s too late.

I’d like to remind all you illegal alien sympathizers that the entire notion of IMMIGRATION LAWS is so that immigrants do not come to this country in such large numbers and do not assimilate that it changes the nature of the indigent culture. But that is what is happening with this blatant invasion by illegal aliens from Mexico and South America. Our culture is UNDER ATTACK by the third world cultures being imported with the MILLIONS of ILLEGAL ALIENS MOSTLY FROM HISPANIC COUNTRIES.

So now I will be crossing ABC off my viewing list - and it will join NBC and MSNBC on that list.  I will use my boob tube only for watching movies *I* select with Netflix instead of wasting my time on the FAUX NEWS from these stations and the CRAP PROGRAMMING.

So when you watch the snippet, watch how they portray “Mario” and his hurt feelings at the “discrimination” by Americans. He “no comprende” why Americans treat him this way.. well that’s because he is IGNORANT and STUPIDO.  They sneak into our country illegally and have hurt feelings when we don’t want them here?????  And how exactly do we know they are illegal? BECAUSE THEY DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!  LEGAL IMMIGRANTS LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE COUNTRY THEY WISH TO BECOME PART OF.  ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE JUST USERS OF THE HOST COUNTRY - LIKE A PARASITE. THAT IS WHY WE HATE THEM AND WE SURE DO HATE THEM.  GO HOME WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE.

Postville Iowa Illegal Aliens trying to claim “they didn’t know it was illegal”

July 13th, 2008

This needs to be filed under “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” Sadly, it is actually going to spur HEARINGS from the House Judiciary Committee because now Rep Zoe Lofgren apparently does NOT understand how the laws in this country work and that you cannot claim ignorance of the laws and escape punishment. That fact is codified in the statement I have heard ALL MY LIFE from law enforcement and it goes like this :

IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE

If this is allowed to go as far as HEARINGS by our so-called political representatives in Congress, it will be yet another blow to the rule of law in this country, as our so-called political representatives debate whether or not we need to hold illegal aliens to the same legal standards as citizens. Yes folks, that is the only thing that can come from this. It really could happen that even at our highest levels of government, illegal aliens will be excused from their illegal behavior “because they didn’t know it was illegal”. Meanwhile, you and I are held to the standard of “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

We need to NIP THIS ONE IN THE BUD folks and I provide contact information for the culprits behind this farce as well as a link to contact info on ALL the House Judiciary Committe members and let’s get the phones ringing off the hook. Make no mistake about it, if these Postville illegal aliens are allowed to say that they “didn’t know it was illegal to use the Social Security Card with someone else’s name on it” it will open the door to all illegal aliens claiming ignorance of our laws as a way to escape punishment. Rep Zoe Lofgren SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HERSELF. But then again she comes from San Francisco where there are very few laws which are followed apparently.

Thanks to Michael Cutler for alerting me and others to this article in the New York Times.

An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants ( where’s my tiny violin? )

In 23 years as a certified Spanish interpreter for federal courts, Erik Camayd-Freixas has spoken up in criminal trials many times, but the words he uttered were rarely his own. Dr Erik Camayd-Freixas

Then he was summoned here by court officials to translate in the hearings for nearly 400 illegal immigrant workers arrested in a raid on May 12 at a meatpacking plant. Since then, Mr. Camayd-Freixas, a professor of Spanish at Florida International University, has taken the unusual step of breaking the code of confidentiality among legal interpreters about their work.

In a 14-page essay he circulated among two dozen other interpreters who worked here, Professor Camayd-Freixas wrote that the immigrant defendants whose words he translated, most of them villagers from Guatemala, did not fully understand the criminal charges they were facing or the rights most of them had waived.

In the essay and an interview, Professor Camayd-Freixas said he was taken aback by the rapid pace of the proceedings and the pressure prosecutors brought to bear on the defendants and their lawyers by pressing criminal charges instead of deporting the workers immediately for immigration violations.

He said defense lawyers had little time or privacy to meet with their court-assigned clients in the first hectic days after the raid. Most of the Guatemalans could not read or write, he said. Most did not understand that they were in criminal court.

“The questions they asked showed they did not understand what was going on,” Professor Camayd-Freixas said in the interview. “The great majority were under the impression they were there because of being illegal in the country, not because of Social Security fraud.”

During fast-paced hearings in May, 262 of the illegal immigrants pleaded guilty in one week and were sentenced to prison — most for five months — for knowingly using false Social Security cards or legal residence documents to gain jobs at the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in nearby Postville. It was the largest criminal enforcement operation ever carried out by immigration authorities at a workplace.

The essay has provoked new questions about the Agriprocessors proceedings, which had been criticized by criminal defense and immigration lawyers as failing to uphold the immigrants’ right to due process. Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, said she would hold a hearing on the prosecutions and call Professor Camayd-Freixas as a witness.

“The essay raises questions about whether the charges brought were supported by the facts,” Ms. Lofgren said.

Bob Teig, a spokesman for Matt M. Dummermuth, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, said the immigrants’ constitutional rights were not compromised.

Read more

Here is contact information for the two main culprits in this ridiculous fiasco as well as a link to the House Judiciary Committee so that you can contact and perhaps find some on that committee with some COMMON SENSE and urge them NOT TO HOLD HEARINGS ON THIS SUBJECT!!!

Erik Camayd-Freixas - Florida International University
Phone: 305-348-6222
Second Phone: 305-348-2851
Email

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
Washington DC Phone: 202-225-3072
CA District Phone: 408-271-8700
Email

House Judiciary Committee Members

Democrats:

* John Conyers (Mich.), Chairman
* Howard L. Berman (Calif.)
* Rick Boucher (Va.)
* Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.)
* Robert C. Scott (Va.)
* Melvin L. Watt (N.C.)
* Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
* Sheila Jackson-Lee (Texas)
* Maxine Waters (Calif.)
* Martin T. Meehan (Mass.)
* William D. Delahunt (Mass.)
* Robert Wexler (Fla.)
* Linda Sanchez (Calif.)
* Steve Cohen (Tenn.)
* Hank Johnson (Ga.)
* Luis Gutierrez (Ill.)
* Brad Sherman (Calif.)
* Anthony D. Weiner (N.Y.)
* Adam B. Schiff (Calif.)
* Artur Davis (Ala.)
* Keith Ellison (Minn.)

Republicans:

* Lamar S. Smith (Texas), Ranking Member
* Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.)
* Howard Coble (N.C.)
* Elton Gallegly (Calif.)
* Bob Goodlatte (Va.)
* Steve Chabot (Ohio)
* Dan Lungren (Calif.)
* Chris Cannon (Utah)
* Ric Keller (Fla.)
* Darrell Issa (Calif.)
* Mike Pence (Ind.)
* J. Randy Forbes (Va.)
* Steve King (Iowa)
* Tom Feeney (Fla.)
* Trent Franks (Ariz.)
* Louie Gohmert (Texas)
* Jim Jordan (Ohio)

Related posts on Postville Iowa raids here and here

 

Update on Postville, Iowa ICE Raids

May 13th, 2008

Details are now emerging about the search warrant on the AgriProcessors, Inc and it shows a definite pattern of KNOWINGLY hiring and taking in illegal aliens by the Hasidic Jewish owners and managers of this plant. Turns out, the taking over of this plant by Hasidic Jews, resulted in the invasion of the little town of Postville with non-assimilating Hasidic Jews and their illegal alien SLAVES. In fact, there was a book written about the struggles between the original residents of Postville and the new invaders who rescued the town by taking over the meat processing plant. I suppose the long term cost of doing this was never considered.

Anyway I digress, here are some interesting details about the search warrant on the Postville, IA KOSHER meat packing plant from GazetteOnline.com:

“Over at least the last two years, (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has received information concerning immigration offenses at and by employees of Agriprocessors, including allegations of harboring illegal aliens… engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employ undocumented aliens… document fraud… misuse of Social Security numbers… and aggravated identity theft. This affidavit sets forth some, but not all, of the information ICE and other law enforcement officers possess concerning potential violations of the above-referenced statutes and potentially other criminal laws, but rather, is a summary of evidence in ICE’s possession sufficient to establish probable cause to support this search warrant.

“This criminal search warrant is sought simultaneously… in connection with the issuance of 697 criminal complaints and arrest warrants against persons believed to be current employees of Agriprocessors… Of the approximately 697 charged by complaint, the government currently possesses copies of photo identification for only about 15 individuals.

“There is reason to believe there will be other employees present at Agriprocessors facility whose lawful authority to reside and work in the United States is unknown. Accordingly, in conjunction with the execution of this criminal search warrant, ICE intends to question any alien or person found on the Agriprocessors property believed to be an alien as to his or her right to be or remain in the United States, for purposes of determining whether the alien should be administratively processed for removal.

The following is an abbreviated version of the testimony of 15 former and current employees of the facility included in the search warrant. The sources identities have been withheld in the search warrant:

— Source #1 was a supervisor at the plant between 2005 and 2006. That person supervised citizens of Mexico, Guatemala and Eastern Europe, and estimated that 80 percent of these employees were illegally present in the United States. There was an incident at Agriprocessors where Source #1 discovered active methamphetamine production in the plant. The source partially destroyed the lab, which led to a physical confrontation with the source’s immediate supervisor. Source #1 said he or she believes the incident led to their termination. There were also incidents of weapons being carried in Agriprocessors. Source #1 described a conversation with the Agriprocessors Human Resources Manager concerning three Social Security cards from three employees that all contained the same Social Security number, and that the Human Resources Manager laughed when it was brought to her attention. The source also described another conversation with the Human Resources Manager regarding Agriprocessors’ employees’ taxes and the fact that they were deducted and deposited in bank accounts belonging to an unknown person or people.

— Sources #2, #3 and #4 were arrested after an Aug. 30, 2007, altercation in Postville. All said they were foreign nationals illegally present in the United States, and that they were former Agriprocessors employees. They said they presented fraudulent Social Security cards and Permanent Resident Alien cards to gain employment there. Some of their Employment Eligibility Verification Forms were not properly certified.

— Source #6 was remanded to ICE custody from the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office after he or she was arrested for drunken driving. The source said he or she was employed as an undocumented worker on one of Agriprocessors’ farms between 2004 and 2006. A fraudulent Social Security card and Permanent Resident Alien card were presented to gain employment there.

— Source #7, a legal Hispanic immigrant, was paid by ICE to look for a job at the plant early this year while pretending to be an illegal immigrant. All of the source’s conversations with human resources staff, supervisors and other employees were recorded during the employment process. The first time the source was told that the Social Security number ICE provided for him or her to use did not match his or her name. The next week, the source was provided a different Social Security number to use with the same name and was hired. Source #7 discovered other employees were being paid in cash or with different colored checks than the ones he or she received, possibly by an elementary school worker in Postville identified as the point of contact on letters to Agriprocessors employees noting “misunderstandings” with the employees’ Social Security numbers. The source’s rent also kept being increased by his or her landlord, and was told by other Hispanics that happened to other workers, as well.

In February, Source #7 told ICE agents he or she observed a Jewish floor supervisor duct-tape the eyes of an undocumented Guatemalan worker shut and hit the Guatemalan with a meat hook, apparently not causing serious injuries. The Guatemalan did not want to report the incident because “it would not do any good and could jeopardize his job.” The company fired illegal immigrants on occasion with no explanation.

— On May 4, 2006, sources #8, #9 and #10 were arrested in connection with an investigation of the production of a potential explosive device found in a vehicle registered to a resident of Postville. The materials likely came from the Agriprocessors mechanical shop. Two sources had obtained employment there with fraudulent documents they had purchased, and all were illegal immigrants.

— An Iowa Department of Transportation investigator learned from talking with Des Moines County Treasurer’s Office personnel that Source #14 was involved in making applications to title and register cars on behalf of people living in Postville. The source said that, more than 200 times, he or she received application information and money and had the registrations and titles sent to various Burlington/West Burlington addresses. Source #14 then arranged to pick up the documents and sent them to the vehicle owners in Postville.

Other facts found in the search warrant:

— Agriprocessors was notified of more than 1,000 discrepancies between names and Social Security numbers on workers’ W-2 forms sent to the IRS between 2002 and 2005.

— In 2005, the Iowa DOT audited a Cedar Rapids car dealership that was selling a number of vehicles to an Agriprocessors supervisor. The manager of the unnamed dealership said the supervisor was a “personal friend of theirs,” and that they supplied a large volume of cars to the supervisor for resale to people in the Postville area. That year, more than 50 vehicles were sold in that manner. Sales to Postville residents appeared to represent about 90 percent of the dealership’s business. The sales violated Iowa law, which requires all dealers to be licensed.

Employees said that supervisor coerced them and others into to buy vehicles from him or they would be fired or not promoted.

Full article

And now to the book about Postville which I discovered. The title is Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America.

Interesting investigation into the clash which resulted from the arrival of 150 Hasidic Jews and their “immigrant” workers (aka illegals). Postville Iowa is a VERY small midwestern town. I am talking only about 2000 people in this town. Now we have about 30-40 % of the town are outsiders - either Hasidic Jews who do not even shop in the local stores or eat in the local restaurants - or they are Spanish speaking Mexicans or Latin Americans who also do not really frequent the local establishments - well except for the Walmart that is.

Here is one of the reviews of this book which sums it up quite well:

From Publishers Weekly
Bloom’s account of a vicious clash between the residents of a small, intensely Christian town and the group of Lubavitcher Jews who open a highly successful kosher slaughterhouse there is a model of sociological reportage and personal journalism. In 1987, after a Hasidic butcher from Brooklyn bought a slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, and began to relocate Jewish and immigrant workers to the area, the town began to change. While some residents were suspicious and anti-Semitic, most were happy to see the town rise above its previous financial destitution. But the Lubavitchers, who traditionally live and work within their own closely knit communities, were not interested in fitting into Postville, and many were dismissive of, or overtly hostile to, its original citizens. After the Lubavitchers started buying real estate and exerting greater influence on the town’s finances, longtime Postville residents began to feel marginalized, yet their reactions caused the Jews to become more isolationist. The slaughterhouse also caused problems: workers were paid below minimum wage and were uninsured, women workers were sexually harassed and fighting among the (often illegal) immigrant workers escalated. Finally, the town took legal action to gain more control over the slaughterhouse. Bloom, a professor at the University of Iowa, writes cleanly and with great insight and temperance about these events. As a secular Jew, he also weaves in his own story as he tries to find some common ground with the Lubavitchers. His book proves an illuminating meditation on contemporary U.S. culture and what it means to be an American.

I also found this review of the Postville book from Newsday in the year 2000:

Hasidim in the Heartland

POSTVILLE: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America, by Stephen G. Bloom. Harcourt, 338 pp., $ 25.

Newsday, November 5, 2000

STEVE BLOOM gets his first glimpse of the Hasidic Jews of Postville, Iowa, on a Friday evening. He drives to this rural town of 1,500 souls from his home in Iowa City and parks across the street from the synagogue. Instead of introducing himself as a Jewish visitor away from home on the Sabbath, Bloom observes the Lubavitch men from afar. As they erupt into exuberant song, Bloom leans on his car and munches on a sandwich, a salami-and-cheese on white.

Postville was a withering hamlet surrounded by failing family farms in 1986 when Aaron Rubashkin of Brooklyn bought a defunct slaughterhouse on the outskirts of town. The Hasidim bought homes, and they banked and shopped on Main Street, but in other ways they behaved as if they had no neighbors, ignoring sidewalk greetings from non-Jews and shunning local schools. By the time Bloom arrives in Postville, the Rubashkins’s factory is grossing $ 100 million a year and the Iowans have traded in the welcome wagon for a pickup truck full of resentment.

In “Postville,” Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, explores the tensions between the Hasidic newcomers and the largely Lutheran old guard, whose families emigrated to northwest Iowa from Germany generations earlier. Locals, who, Bloom says, “by and large, were tolerant,” complain that the Postville Hasidim are secretive, wealthy, ostentatious, deceitful, chauvinistic, unassimilable and disrespectful of local customs. “The complaint I hear most is that they need to live by the same rules as all of us,” says city councilman Leigh Rekow. “It’s not such a great religion if they don’t want to be part of the community.”

The gentiles’ gripes echo anti-Semitic calumnies that predate Iowa, but as Bloom talks to dozens of Postville residents, he finds that many complaints have a basis in reality. The Hasidim don’t say hello to Christians on the street. They don’t attend the annual street fair, and they don’t maintain their lawns. The owner of a shoe store, who at first prospered due to large Hasidic families, extended credit to her Hasidic customers, and they never settled their accounts.

One Hasidic man admits this is just how he does business, telling Bloom about a shipment of computers he bought on credit. Let the vendor sue, says Lazar Kamzoil: “We’ll pay him-eventually-but on our terms, not his.” Kamzoil adds that bargaining is “part of being a Jew” and that Hasidim never had any interest in mingling with the goyim. “It’s the place and the people who have to adapt to us,” he says.

Kamzoil reveals himself while playing host to Bloom and his young son for the weekend. The reporter had a much harder time penetrating Hasidic society than he expected (on the other hand, the longtime Iowans were relatively open with him), and Bloom’s easiest point of entry was to let the Lubavitchers, known for urging assimilated Jews to become more observant, proselytize to him. One of the Rubashkins gets Bloom to strap on phylacteries, and Kamzoil makes sure Bloom participates in a Saturday service. Once the Hasidim figure out that Bloom is only playing along, however, they treat him like a pork-eater.

“Postville” is told in the first person, and the “clash of cultures” mentioned in the subtitle refers not only to the divide between Christian Postville and the Hasidic outpost, but also to Bloom’s relationship to each. A New Jersey-bred, Berkeley-educated reporter who moved to Iowa from San Francisco, Bloom is a creature of the speedy, modern life of the coasts, and his Jewishness manifests itself mostly as a longing for pastrami and a revulsion at the mention of Jesus during Cub Scout meetings. He feels himself as much a fish out of water in Iowa as he imagines the Lubavitchers would be. In fact, they have brought their way of life with them, whereas Bloom feels somewhat rootless.

Bloom writes about his own struggles, at times affectingly. He also shows himself to be a valiant reporter. He is at his impersonal best in a long tangent about a pair of disgruntled Hasidim who go on a crime spree through the Iowa countryside; one, a convert, is severely punished, and the other, from a renowned rabbinic lineage, gets a slap on the wrist.

One area Bloom did not master, however, is Judaism, particularly in his mistaking the whole-hog observance of the Hasidim for complete authenticity. He brings his son to the Kamzoils’ so Mikey can have a “thoroughly Jewish experience,” as though it were impossible to have one at home.

The reporter in Bloom does not judge the Rubashkins for hiring illegal immigrants and flouting labor regulations, much as he bends over backward not to accuse the Postville Christians of anti-Semitism. However, by the end of the book Bloom, whose sense of kinship with the Hasidim brought him to Postville, feels as stung as the Iowans did, and he himself describes the Hasidim of Postville as secretive, chauvinistic and deceitful.

Bloom makes a convincing case that they are, but unfortunately he extrapolates from his experiences to make unsupportable broad generalizations, much as the Iowans do. Bargaining is not “an undeniable part of Bloom’s own culture” just because the Iowans and Kamzoil both say so, and if it is, so is a respect for workers’ rights, which was championed by the secular Jewish labor movement.

Early on, Bloom makes the claim that Postville “seemed like a social laboratory, perhaps even a metaphor for America.” Perhaps, but a more fitting parallel might be Central Europe, where a changing economy brought religious Jews from the east into German Protestant cities and towns. One hopes the Postville experiment goes better.

 

So now that this raid has happened, it will be interesting to see if the Hasidic Jews take their illegal alien running business to yet another small town and change it forever or if they will clean up their act and stay in Postville. If they pull out of Postville, there will be people who will chastise the ICE raid for ruining the economy of Postville because following the law was SO inconvenient to AgriProcessors, Inc so they folded up their plant and went elsewhere.. perhaps to a place that does not enforce immigration laws.

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