According to the NY Times, around 1,000 people took to the streets of Postville, Iowa, marching to the entrance of Agriprocessors Meatpacking plant – the site of the biggest immigration raid in U.S. history.
They marched carrying signs urging people to “Love thy neighbor” and “Build sense, not a fence.” They chanted, “We are all immigrants” and “Si, se puede — Yes, we can.”
Among those marching were Latino immigrants, member of the Jewish, Catholic and Lutheran communities, immigrant rights advocates and local citizens.
Before the march, religious leaders held a prayer vigil in English, Spanish and Hebrew.
Protestors listened to the service on loudspeakers with an overflow crowd on the lawn of St. Bridget’s Catholic church – where many of the immigrants affected by the raid have found help and support.
A minister quoted from the Bible: “You shall treat the stranger who resides with you no differently than the natives among you,” he read. “Have the same love for him as for yourself, for you too were once strangers in the land of Egypt.”
Immigrant rights advocate Diego was on the scene and has this audio recording live from the protest. The audio features an interview with Erica Palmer, an advocate from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
Postville has been all but decimated by the May raids. Once a small but thriving community, it has seen a large percentage of its population directly affected by the raid.
“The Hispanic families are the ones who make our community and our schools,” said Postville Mayor Robert Penrod.
And without those families, Postville has been left with a gaping hole in its community.