Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–December 12, 2011. Just 200 miles northeast of the GOP debate podiums in Des Moines, Iowa, lies the town of Postville, where the embers of destructive “enforcement only” immigration policies supported by Republicans still smolder.
About 20 percent of Postville’s population of 2000 was rounded up in a federal immigration raid in May, 2008, creating terror among families and churches, and an economic crisis that still lingers. “Years after immigration raid, Iowa town feels poorer and less stable,” according to a recent news report. Instead of creating jobs for American-born citizens, the reporter found shuttered businesses, empty homes and a 40 percent drop in taxable retail sales since 2008.
In Saturday’s Iowa debate, where three of the six candidates were asked about immigration, their answers — or lack of them — espoused deportation-style enforcement for most of the 11 million undocumented residents now in the U.S.
SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement:
“Newt Gingrich proved in the debate that his immigration proposal — which he previously described as a “humane” approach for those who have lived in the country for decades — is really a very harsh plan that would satisfy the most anti-immigrant faction of the GOP.
“Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has zig zagged on the immigration issue so many times that voters should not be blamed for being confused. But, he left no doubt during the debate that he favors removal of the current undocumented population.
“Texas Gov. Rick Perry refused to answer what he would do about the undocumented immigrants who have joined the military. Not mentioned but present in the minds of many Latino voters are the lives lost by immigrants — regardless of status — while defending our country.
“Republicans should remember that there is a Latino community in Iowa — it grew by almost 84 percent from 2000 to 2010. Latino voters listen to what candidates say about issues like immigration and the economy that we help sustain, and we will not forget how Republicans talk about issues that affect our families, friends and livelihood. Latinos, like most Americans, want a pragmatic solution to the immigration problem, not Postville-style terrorism.
“Republicans seem to forget that when they run for the nomination of their conservative party, all Americans are listening and their words will not be forgotten.”