Last night at the Georgetown Law Center, a screening of “abUSed: The Postville Raid” was held followed by a panel of distinguished advocates including the director Luis Argueta, Joshua Berstein of SEIU and Eric Sigmon from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services. The film focuses on the human rights violations that occurred both before and after an immigration raid that led to the deportation of nearly 400 people, 290 of which were from Guatemala, in Postville, Iowa. It also analyzes the raids devastating impact on the community as families were torn apart in the following months.
Within the beltway, facts and figures are thrown around left and right by both supporters and opponents of a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants residing in our country. What we often miss in this gridlocked political climate and endless debate are the faces behind these numbers. This film puts a face to this issue that we often forget directly correlates with a persons inherent dignity. People will migrate to where they can find jobs, and in the face of detrimental trade agreements like NAFTA and outdated immigration policies, those in impoverished countries are forced by push and pull factors to seek a better life.
As we move forward pursuing immigration reform, we must remember that this isn’t just about the facts and statistics that back up the benefits of bringing our immigration system into the 21st century. This is about real families trying to provide for themselves that are suffering at the hands of the lack of federal action. It’s about the millions of DREAM Act eligible youth, some who are engaging in civil disobedience so that they can sit in a classroom and contribute to this country. It’s about how we, as Americans, must reform our broken policies so that these faces no longer have to stay in the shadows we have kept them in.