Illegal Protest

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

Building Maintenance Firm Raided by ICE in King of Prussia

August 3rd, 2008

Well it’s about time I see some ICE action in my neck of the woods. But THIRTY? There’s got to be 10,000 illegal aliens in the Norristown area ICE. It’s a start but really now.. you can only find 30?

Important note. The ONLY coverage of this story as of August 3rd is the Spanish language newspaper - Al Dia. Thanks to Mariann Davies of You Don’t Speak for Me for finding the buried story that can only be found IN SPANISH. I’m doing my civic duty regarding getting the word out IN ENGLISH thank you very much so that at least a google search might produce this information.

The link to Al Dia - Spanish version

viva la migra

Around 30 employees of the American Building Maintenance firm, in King of Prussia are now in federal custody after an ICE raid this past Thursday, July 31st, 2008 according to a union report.

“We are saddened by the ICE raid last night in King of Prussia, that has left dozens of cleaning employees in a detention site and now are far away from their children and families”..declared Valeria Long, Vice-Presidnet of the union. “The raids and the deportation of immigrant workers is inhumane and counterproductive, this action doesn’t do anything to solve the obsolete system of immigration of our nation.

These attacks, that are completely out of line with our values and ideals of our country only serve to terrorize the workes and create fear in our communities” she added.

Long said that they deplore the attitude of ABM for lying to the workers to get them to come to a meeting without taking into consideration their rights and protections under the law. We hope that ABM meets their legal and moral obligations to their workforce.”…..

It makes me giggle to think these clueless illegals thought they were attending a meeting. That’s a good one.. I like the one where ICE poses as a construction contractor and picks them up at day labor sites when they think they are getting some work. Surprise!

And one more thing Valeria Long - these illegal workers are VERY FAR AWAY from their families - the ones they left in Mexico or Guatemala to come here and be slaves for our big business slave holders. You should be ashamed of yourself supporting their continued slavery. ICE is doing them a favor and reuniting them with their FIRST FAMILY in their HOME COUNTRY. That other family in the US is FAMILY NUMBER TWO.

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

 

Postville Iowa immigration raid ever much worse than you think

May 18th, 2008

You absolutely MUST read this entire article if you read NOTHING else. My sincere thanks goes to the author - Craig - who posted this at Project USA.

Full article here

The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained 390 illegal immigrants May 13, 2008 in the largest single-site immigration raid in US history. The raid took place at Agriprocessors, Inc., the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking plant, located in the tiny town of Postville, Iowa.

postville, iowaFederal officials have declined to comment about possible charges against the owners of Agriprocessors, and jaded Americans can be forgiven for assuming the employer will receive a slap on the wrist, if it receives any penalty at all.

But before you shrug and move on, it’s worth noting that the feds aren’t following the typical routine around the Postville raid. There may yet be some arrests higher up the ladder in the offing, with serious felony charges to follow.

As well there should be. The 390 detainees who were working in Agriprocessors’ slaughterhouse are the vanilla surface of a much darker story underneath. It’s a deeply troubling story that demands the owners of Agriprocessors, among others, be prosecuted under the full weight of the law.

If this story doesn’t end with major prison sentences handed down, there is, as they say, no justice.

An astonishing criminal enterprise

I first picked up the Agriprocessors story in May, 2004. It began far from Iowa’s cornfields with the arrival at San Francisco’s international airport on Cathay Pacific Airlines Flight CX872 of a Chinese national named Hu Yao Bin with his wife and two children.

The paperwork Mr. Hu presented to immigration inspectors at the airport was all in order. It showed that a US employer named Aaron Rubashkin, president of Agriprocessors, Inc. of Postville, Iowa, had petitioned successfully for the visa that Mr. Hu and his family now presented to inspectors—an EW-3 visa, which covers those coming to the United States to perform unskilled labor.

It should have been another rubber stamp entry. But no sooner had Mr. Hu and his family been cleared to enter the United States, permanently, than Mr. Hu blundered badly. He asked the inspecting officer to forward his Legal Permanent Resident card to his intended address in San Francisco’s Chinatown—not to the kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa that was to be his place of employment.

Oops. That’s one heck of a commute. Mr. Hu was promptly referred to a second agent for questioning.

Hu Yao Bin
Hu Yao Bin
(photo from ICE

charging documents)

He confessed everything in the second interview. In a sworn statement, Mr. Hu said that his friend, Mr. Hu Shu Bin, had obtained the immigrant visa from the American consulate in Guangzhou, China, for which he had paid his friend US$30,000—the standard fee “snakeheads” charge to bring Chinese nationals into the United States.

In the statement, Mr. Hu Yao Bin stated that Mr. Hu Shu Bin had arranged for the family to immigrate through an American lawyer named Christopher A. Teras.

Mr Teras has processed hundreds of these cases, Mr Hu told the agent.

When the interview was over, Mr. Hu received a “deferred inspection”. He was released with a request that he reappear voluntarily at a later date.

After Mr. Hu and his family left to start their new lives as Americans, an ICE agent telephoned Agriprocessors. It happened to be a Jewish holiday, so the plant was closed. A security guard named Warren Timmerman was on duty, however, and he showed no reluctance to talk to to the agent.

He told the agent that, yes, “hundreds of Chinese” immigrants come to Postville to work at the slaughterhouse for a couple of weeks in order to fulfill their visa requirement, then disappear.

Interesting.

The agent then called Mr. Hu’s attorney, Christopher Teras, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Assn whose office in Washington, DC, as it turned out, was just five blocks from my own. A “Ms. Kim-attorney secretary”, answered the telephone at the law firm. She too was very forthcoming. In a heavy Asian accent, she told the agent that $30,000 was a typical fee for someone like Mr. Hu, and that, yes, the firm “has successed for hundreds of such”.

Later in the article I found this tidbit that I found quite interesting since my PA Senator is Arlen Specter (grrrrr)

The heart of the problem

The biggest obstacle I see to cleaning up our nation’s immigration mess—bigger than the American Immigration Lawyers Assn and the greed of its members,
bigger than subversive editors, bigger than contemptible employers—is the governmental corruption that seems to have this country by the throat.

One form of that corruption is campaign contributions—a practice that is destroying our democracy and simply has to stop. From 2000 to 2004, Agriprocessors contributed $2,000 to Congressman Noach Dear of Brooklyn, $2,500 to Congressman Jim Nussle of Iowa, $2,000 to the National Republican Congressional Cmte, and $14,000 to Senator Arlen Specter. Each of these recipients during this time period actively worked against the wishes and well-being of the American people on the immigration issue in Washington.

From 2000 to 2004, Agriprocessors also gave $3,550 to the Republican Party of Iowa, which repeatedly acquiesced in the betrayal of Iowans on the immigration issue during Governor Tom Vilsack’s administration, and $5,500 to Stan Thompson, an Iowa Republican who challenged Democratic incumbent Leonard Boswell in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district in 2002 and again in 2004.

How is Stan Thompson on immigration? When ProjectUSA put up billboards in Des Moines during the 2004 campaign advertising the fact that, in Washington, Rep. Boswell supported amnesty for illegal aliens, the immigration issue exploded into the race. billboard-congressman Leonard Boswell supports amnesty for illegal aliensRep. Boswell was left hurling invective and fuming, but ineffectively, since our billboards were accurate. Enter challenger Stan Thompson. Thompson not only failed to capitalize on the gift he’d been handed, but neutered our campaign by publicly condemning our completely accurate billboard campaign and calling on us to take down the boards! To whose interests was Stan Thompson hewing? The voters’ of Iowa? The struggling guy’s in Postville with a wife and two kids to support? Or the interests of Agriprocessors, his campaign donor?

Full article 

If this article doesn’t make you want to throw up knowing just how bad it is and has become I really don’t know. It makes me want to puke all over MY elected politicians. Never before has a country had such a huge collection of absolute TRAITORS to their own country!!

WAKE UP PEOPLE! When will YOU say enough is enough????

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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