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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Postville anniversary rally smaller, but more focused

By Lynda Waddington | 05.13.09 | 1:45 pm

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Time may not have necessarily healed all wounds in Postville following last year’s massive federal immigration raid, but it has dulled the pain enough for demonstrators to approach immigration with a considered thoughtfulness not seen previously.

“The overall feel of this rally was so different than the one in July,” said Sister Mary McCauley as she reflected on the differences between Postville’s one-year anniversary observance held Tuesday and the much larger demonstration and march held last summer. “What I felt today was a specific focus and call for comprehensive immigration reform. In July everything was so raw — there was a lot of anger being expressed.”

McCauley, who officially retired as the pastoral administrator for the region that includes St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville, is one of the people who have held hands, prayed and worked tirelessly in the months following the massive immigration raid at Agriprocessors that ended with 389 mostly Hispanic laborers in federal custody and charged criminally.

Sister Mary McCauley

Sister Mary McCauley

“We are aware of some of the pain, suffering and injustice that you experienced in your home country and also upon arriving in the United States,” McCauley said to the immigrants who gathered at the church for a prayer vigil on Tuesday evening. “For any pain, suffering or injustice that we as individuals, our Postville community, our government or any of our citizens may have caused, we ask your forgiveness.”

Following McCauley’s comments, the roughly 700 people assembled at the church lined up on the street outside. Compared to last summer, there were far fewer signs held by participants, and most were carried primarily for group identification. While the walkers were not silent, there was no deliberate effort made to organize specific chants.

The group walked through a residential area, with a clear sense of purpose but little outward anger. They met no resistance, save a single comment yelled through a resident’s open window. Upon arriving at the Agriprocessors plant’s property line, no one seemed to want a confrontation. Instead, four men of faith climbed into the back of a waiting truck, grabbed nearby megaphones and offered a blessing.

“Confident of [God's] constant presence, we ask [his] blessing on this plant,” said Rabbi Morris Allen, who drove in from St. Paul, Minn. “Since its opening in 1987, many have labored to produce nourishing food. We ask your blessing on all who have worked here, who are working here, or may work here in the future. May they labor in the atmosphere of peace, justice and safety.”

kids_signEven before the blessing could be translated into Spanish, the marchers applauded to signal approval of the sentiments expressed.

“I dreaded this day for two weeks, but then it dawned on me a few days ago that this day was really just going to be like any other,” said Paul Rael, Hispanic lay-minister at St. Bridget’s. “This was a day to continue our theme of July 27, advocating for just practices in the work place, family solidarity and comprehensive immigration reform. We also had another opportunity to let the story out of our people. Those stories need to be told, known and repeated.”

And, they were. During the prayer vigil, two immigrants, one male and one female, provided compelling narratives of their journey into the U.S. and what they found upon arrival.

Sandra Rybachek of Madison, Wis., and Jorge Mario Perez of Postville hold a Guatemalan flag in front of St. Bridget's Church in Postville on Tuesday.

Sandra Rybachek of Madison, Wis., and Jorge Mario Perez of Postville hold a Guatemalan flag in front of St. Bridget's Church in Postville on Tuesday.

“Today was a day of sadness because we stood in solidarity with people who have lived in pain,” McCauley said. “I felt great heartache, but I also felt great hope at the number of people who were here. One of our Mexican women walked with me and expressed what a great day it was. She had tears of joy.

“But until we can get our citizens to call up on their congresspersons and senators, and until we can get our political leaders here in Postville and seeing the pain of the people, then only will immigration reform become a priority. What we have to do is move it from Postville and what we’ve witnessed today and into the global world.”

Although no members of the Iowa congressional delegation personally came to Postville for the one-year anniversary, representatives were sent from the offices of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Bruce Braley, both Democrats. Official statements were distributed by Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican, as well as Braley and Harkin. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, also a Republican, wrote a letter to McCauley indicating his regrets and offering “best wishes for a memorable afternoon.” Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and Lt. Gov. Patty Judge did not acknowledge the anniversary.

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Comments

  • vallittlewolf

    Postvillle is in Allamakee county, we all suffered for the illegals brought to our county. The poorest in Iowa. Being an American isn't a right given freely it is a bought treasure. For my family that settled in Allamakee County and Winnesheik county just about when the state became one. They fought and suffered through desparately cold winters and iffy springs, hoping and praying for the crops to come in. And here these illegal aliens are finally taken and held,they aren't American's any more then I am Mexican or African. They dont speak our language and their children aren't Americaan's. This crap about the children born here are American, anyone who thinks that neds to return to school. In order for the babies born of illegal Americans to be American;s at least one of their parents neds to actually be an American. Craig Fergasen is Scotish, After several years he took a test and became a Naturalized American. His child born to an American woman is American. If he were to move to Scotlan his wife would have to be accepted by Scotland to become Scottish. It isn't like Bewitch magic, Aber Kadabber pooph,whammo you are An American.

  • vallittlewolf

    Postvillle is in Allamakee county, we all suffered for the illegals brought to our county. The poorest in Iowa. Being an American isn't a right given freely it is a bought treasure. For my family that settled in Allamakee County and Winnesheik county just about when the state became one. They fought and suffered through desparately cold winters and iffy springs, hoping and praying for the crops to come in. And here these illegal aliens are finally taken and held,they aren't American's any more then I am Mexican or African. They dont speak our language and their children aren't Americaan's. This crap about the children born here are American, anyone who thinks that neds to return to school. In order for the babies born of illegal Americans to be American;s at least one of their parents neds to actually be an American. Craig Fergasen is Scotish, After several years he took a test and became a Naturalized American. His child born to an American woman is American. If he were to move to Scotlan his wife would have to be accepted by Scotland to become Scottish. It isn't like Bewitch magic, Aber Kadabber pooph,whammo you are An American.

  • vallittlewolf

    Postvillle is in Allamakee county, we all suffered for the illegals brought to our county. The poorest in Iowa. Being an American isn't a right given freely it is a bought treasure. For my family that settled in Allamakee County and Winnesheik county just about when the state became one. They fought and suffered through desparately cold winters and iffy springs, hoping and praying for the crops to come in. And here these illegal aliens are finally taken and held,they aren't American's any more then I am Mexican or African. They dont speak our language and their children aren't Americaan's. This crap about the children born here are American, anyone who thinks that neds to return to school. In order for the babies born of illegal Americans to be American;s at least one of their parents neds to actually be an American. Craig Fergasen is Scotish, After several years he took a test and became a Naturalized American. His child born to an American woman is American. If he were to move to Scotlan his wife would have to be accepted by Scotland to become Scottish. It isn't like Bewitch magic, Aber Kadabber pooph,whammo you are An American.

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