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Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 15, 2008

Statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines
regarding the Federal immigration raid in Postville, IA

Enforce the law humanely, Reform the system, and Ensure fair labor practices

Along with most Iowans, the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines has been following the accounts of the federal law enforcement raid in Postville very closely. The Federation believes the immigration laws must be enforced, yet we are vitally concerned with the wellbeing of the families affected. We join with those, including a majority of national Jewish communal organizations, who favor comprehensive immigration reform. The system, in many respects, is not working.

Our concern, however, is also directed to the kosher meatpacking company Agriprocessors whose plant was the target of the raid. Although all the details have yet to come out, it is alleged that Agriprocessors engaged in illegal and unethical practices. Unfortunately this is not the first time this company has been accused of alleged misdeeds. The company has been cited by the FDA for such matters as bribing federal officials and there is a case pending alleging unfair labor practices. If these charges are correct, the company would warrant the condemnation of the entire Jewish community of Iowa, and of Jews everywhere.

What makes the circumstance particularly egregious to the Jewish community is that this corporation, which serves as a religiously- based business, in producing kosher meat, has seemingly failed to adhere to both civil law and Jewish law.

We expect that the American legal system will fairly adjudicate all the legal matters involving the company and the workers charged with violating immigration regulations.
This statement is authorized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and issued on behalf of the Jewish Federation by the Jewish Community Relations Commission.