Various groups in eastern Iowa observed the second anniversary of the May 12, 2008, immigration raid on the Agri-Processors meatpacking plant in Postville with prayer services and public protests. Their hope was to draw attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
In Davenport, a bilingual Mass was held May 12 at St. Mary Catholic Church followed by a prayer service and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Sister of Charity Mary McCauley, Dubuque, who worked as a pastoral minister in Postville in 2008, developed the prayer “in memory of all who live life in the shadows because of their fears of being detected by authorities, and in hope that one day we can all live in peace.”
Services using Sr. McCauley’s prayer were also conducted in Postville and in Clinton.
Word was received in Dubuque on May 12 that Erik Camayd-Freixas, the federal interpreter who served at the hearings for the immigrants in 2008 and who lectured on the implications of the raid in six eastern Iowa cities in March of this year, will receive the Clarion Award given by Catholic Academy at the Catholic Press Association convention in June. The award is given for outstanding work in communications. Camayd-Freixas has testified before Congress and published several essays on the threat to American democracy posed by the mass raids.
In Silver Spring, Md., the presidents of the national conferences of men and women religious, comprising leaders of U.S. orders of Catholic priests, Brothers and Sisters, issued a statement calling on President Obama and Senate and House leaders to work for comprehensive immigration reform now. The members of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) represent the majority of the nation’s Catholic Sisters, Brothers and religious priests, a number of whom work directly with immigrant families and communities.
While acknowledging the right of the United States “to control its borders,” the presidents affirm the need for a “just and humane approach to immigration reform which must include a path to citizenship, family reunification and protection of workers’ rights.”