Clinton Catholics to screen documentary on Postville immigration raid


CLINTON — On May 12, 2008, immigration officials stormed a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, arresting nearly 400 undocumented workers in one of the biggest roundups in U.S. history.

Supporters of the raid celebrated it as a law enforcement victory while immigrant rights groups slammed it as draconian. Meanwhile, up a winding dirt road, a poor Guatemalan village was dying, and so was Postville itself.

On Tuesday, May 24, the audience at The Canticle will view “In the Shadow of The Raid,” an independent, 30-minute documentary by Greg Brosnan and Jennifer Szymaszek. The filmmakers tell how the raid unleashed economic disaster on a poor Guatemalan valley and a northeastern Iowa farm town.

The screening is a continuation of the “Real to Reel” film series being sponsored by Prince of Peace Parish Pax Christi and the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking.  The screening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the home of the Sisters of St. Francis, 841 13th Ave. N., Clinton, and is free and open to the public.


The film centers on the story of one young Guatemalan man, Toj. The 30-year-old father of four had only been working at the Iowa meat plant 15 minutes when authorities arrested him. He owed $7,000 to smugglers who arranged his transit to the U.S. The chances of him paying the money back were slim and he was already in danger of losing his ramshackle home. He had hoped to send money back to treat his mother’s cancer, but now he was powerless to help her.

Tuesday’s program will be facilitated by Clinton Franciscan Sister Jane McCarthy, director of Latino ministry at Clinton’s Prince of Peace Parish.  Sr. McCarthy volunteered as a translator in Postville after the raid and has been able to follow up on several of those detained and deported.

For details, call Sisters of St. Francis, (563) 242-7611, or visit

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