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Postville Author Bloom Says Plant Raid Was Inevitable
The author of the widely acclaimed book on Postville’s growing pains with immigration says the raid at a packing house there Monday reveals “one of the worse-kept secrets in the state.” Stephen G. Bloom is the author of “Postville,” a book published in 2000 which examines a cultural calamity in the small, predominantly Lutheran town after Lubavitcher Jews settled there to run the local slaughterhouse, resurrecting the local economy but shaking up life for the rural Iowans who already lived there.
The Agriprocessors slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant is the largest Kosher facility of its kind in the nation, and Monday it was the site of the most sweeping illegal immigration raid in Iowa history
“For years and years, meat-packing plants like Agriprocessors have been hiring thousands of undocumented workers,” Bloom told Iowa Independent.
“It’s been one of the worse-kept secrets in the state. All a prospective employee needed to do was show up at the employment window with a fake Social Security card and he’d be working on the killfloor within hours. Politicians, managers, owners, workers, locals all knew this. The only way the meat-packing industry could operate in Iowa was this way, since fewer and fewer Iowans want to work for minimum wage, doing such back-breaking work with such few benefits (if any),” he said.
“The question wasn’t whether the raids were going to happen. It was when.”