I.C.E. raids Postville meat-packer; United Methodist Bishop responds
From the Des Moines Register:
Postville, Ia. – The phone calls started at 5 a.m. They carried the same message: Immigration was coming.[…] Twelve hours later, Hispanic businesses in downtown Postville were shuttered.[…]
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. plant scattered the Hispanics of Postville. About 400 found their way to St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, waiting for information. Some filled out G-28 forms that allow a lawyer to represent their detained children or minors in their care.
A woman who would identify herself only as Judy said she and her husband work at Agriprocessors. The last time she saw him was before his shift Monday, about 5:30 a.m. “No, I don’t know where he is,” she said in Spanish.
Judy said she and her husband came from Mexico illegally. Like many others at St. Bridget’s, they regard the church as a haven from law enforcement. Asked whether the church would indeed be a safe place, Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s said, “That is our belief and hope.” […]
And from Bishop Palmer of the Iowa United Methodist Church, this rather brave——and certainly Christlike—statement:
As the Bishop of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and as a person of faith, I believe we are called as a community to speak about the immigration raid that took place Monday at Agriprocessors, Inc. in Postville, Iowa. […]
Throughout both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian scriptures, there is a calling to connection and community with the strangers in our midst—to treat them “as the citizens among you” and love them as we do ourselves (Leviticus 19:33-34). In the Christian scripture, Jesus continually manifests compassion for the vulnerable and the poor. Jesus’ life on earth initiated the Kingdom reality of a social order based on love, grace, justice, inclusion, mercy, and egalitarianism […]
I believe that people of faith and all persons of good will should join together to embody the new
social order of God’s transforming love, power, and justice, which breaks the chains of fear,
injustice, racism, xenophobia, and violence. […]
We are called to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers […] whose lives were disrupted today […] and who are facing […] likely separation from their […] loved ones. It is our belief that we are all deeply connected to one another through Christ without regard to one’s nationality or legal status. […]
[W]e urge the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers […] to cease these raids, release those who have been detained today, and work with our elected officials to create a just and comprehensive immigration policy […] Our prayers are with all affected by today’s raid.
Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
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