In the Loop

In the Loop: August 28, 2008 Archive

Immigration raids: What if your town was next?

Posted at 12:09 PM on August 28, 2008 by Sanden Totten (8 Comments)

The largest single-site immigration raid in U.S. history happened this week to the town of Laurel, Mississippi. 595 people were detained. Stories are pouring out of families being separated, business going empty and a community torn apart.

ICE officials say they were planning this raid for several years. That means Laurel was a town with a target on it for months before people knew something was up. It's like those scenes in the movies where a guy is walking around with the laser sighting beam aimed right at his forehead, all the while he doesn't suspect a thing, until . . . bang!

After the Swift raids, Postville and now this, you got to wonder how many other towns are checking their foreheads for a little red laser right about now?

Perry, Iowa is the perfect example of a town that could be in trouble. It's got a major meatpacking plant and a large immigrant population. In fact, after the news in Postville happened, the first thing that went through Mayor Viivi Shirley's mind was "Thank God it wasn't Perry."

But now, Perry has got a plan. They've set up an information relay system to keep rumors from getting out of hand if there is a raid. They've gotten all the Latino students to provide the school with back up care takers in case parents are detained. They've even encouraged immigrant families to write up power of attorney documents to help others manage their home, money and even their family in case of deportation.

I've been talking to Mayor Viivi Shirely about what got the town thinking this way. She admitted that a lot of similar communities are likely to keep their head in the sand when it comes to preparing for the possibility of a raid. But she says, Perry's immigrant community has been lodged in the town for over a decade now. A lot of folks see them as part of the town. And the general feeling in Perry is that if you have emergency plans for a tornado or a fire, why not a raid?

For all those towns wondering if ICE has a target on them as well, it's a good way to ease at least some of the anxiety.

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McCain vs. The Redskins (vs. The Giants)

Posted at 4:35 PM on August 28, 2008 by Jeff Horwich

John McCain will give his acceptance speech next Thursday in St. Paul.

Guess what else happens next Thursday?

The start of the NFL season, including a televised game between Washington and New York on NBC. (Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire zeroed in on the tricky timing today.)

NBC agreed to start the game earlier, and if it lasts a normal length it'll end in time for McCain's scheduled speech. But if it runs late, they'll have to choose: Stall so even NBC viewers can see it, and they can capture the big audience held over from the game? Or move it ahead so (older) members of the party's base don't doze off?

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