Postville: An Enormous Abuse of Power

There is a great article about the injustice of Postville by David Neweirt. (It was originally posted at Orcinus and has been cross-posted at Alternet.) Neiwert does a great job reminding us why we ALL have a cause for concern with the handling of Postville.

It's worth remembering that incipient police states target the most vulnerable members of society.

It seems there was good reason to be concerned about the unusual handling of the cases of illegal immigrants caught up in last month's massive raids at Postville, Iowa -- where, as we noted at the time, immigrants not only were treated like cattle, the prosecutors engaged in questionable tactics as they processed these cases: deploying the unusual tactic of threatening the immigrants with felony identity-theft charges and sending them to prison when they either plead guilty or were quickly found guilty. Last week there was a New York Times editorial directing us to an essay by Erik Camayd-Freixas, a Spanish-language court interpreter who was called in to help process detainees in the raid. It makes the devastating case that the Department of Homeland Security, in collusion with the Justice Department, is (in the words of one observer we heard from about this case) "basically gaming the Federal judiciary using existing law, rules and regulations to force the judiciary to act as a coerced agent of the executive to imprison undocumented workers, after which they are deported with a prison record." As Camayd-Freixas makes clear, these workers were charged improperly with a crime of which they were innocent as the means of forcing them to plead guilty to a lesser charge, for which they then accepted five-month prison sentence.

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