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Filmmakers document consequences of U.S. immigration raid

Back in May 2008, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials rounded up 389 undocumented workers in the Agriprocessors Inc. kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The raid was the largest in U.S history.

Two weeks later, filmmakers Jennifer Szymaszek and Greg Brosnan started filming "In the Shadow of the Raid," a documentary film showing at the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico. A 15-minute edit of the film was recently broadcast on PBS "Frontline's" website.

"In the Shadow of the Raid" delves into the consequences of the ICE raid for Postville and for some of the the migrants who were arrested and deported back to their homes in two rural villages in Guatemala.

Following the closure of the meatpacking plant, Postville businesses failed and livelihoods were destroyed.

In Guatemala, migrant Willian Toj returned to his wife and parents. Awaiting him was a massive debt that he accrued from his trip to the U.S. He had been working in the Postville plant for 20 minutes before the ICE raid.

Toj can barely earn enough to pay the monthly interest on the $7,000 debt, let alone get the funds to treat his mother's worsening cancer.

The tone of the documentary is observational rather than preachy, in the same vein as other recent works such as "Los Que Se Quedan / Those Who Remain." The filmmakers try to reflect some of the realities that contribute to why so many Central Americans and Mexicans head to the United States. But there are no ICE officials interviewed, no legal redresses sought. Brosnan and Szymaszek focus on the people affected by the raid, and the resulting film is a photographic testament to a sad reality.

Watch the video for more.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City.

Video: An interview with Jennifer Szymaszek and Greg Brosnan, directors of "In the Shadow of the Raid." All non-interview material courtesy of Szymaszek and Brosnan. Video interview by Deborah Bonello.

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Randy L. please before you speak think about what comes out of ur mouth. talking about undocumented people as if they are animals? talking about your forfathers? the people that found this land as they call it found a land with people already occupying it. so technicaly this isnt ur land nor mine. Your ancesters stole this land so isnt that stealing? your ancesters had an idea that they had the right to freedom and the right for a better life at the expence of others that their country should stretch from one ocean to the other and moving all those in their way. Sounds bad already. Now u belive that this is ur land land that was obtain trough force and blood. this isnt ur land but everyone has the right to try to better their situation. when u are born u do not chose were in the world yu will be born so if u are born in poverty and try to better yourself good for you but if u are born with food at the table everyday and an education why would u tell he who wants to better himself "u cant have the advanteges i had they only belong to me because imm american" go back to school or pay better attention everyone has a right for a decent living conditions if they wish to persue it. furthermore u sayed "I am indigenous to this land, I was born here. It is mine and ours." uhh u may have been born here but this isnt your natural habitat my good friend unless you are native american then u did not originate from this continent yet u feel the right to bask in all its glory due to your ancester having the ability to come to this great land .. coming to this country illegaly isnt a good thing yet one must take time to see why they left and their situation before looking down on others. this country needs to look at it prioryties better it talks about spending money on education as if their isnt any but is quick to open cash reserves and money the country does not have for wars? this country has countless thing wrong with it one being you with ur sence of entitlement. yet it seems u do not deserve it.

I understand americans that don't want illegals in their country. The only ones I blame is my country "The Government of Mexico" for not taking care of it's hard working people. I hope that some day all the illegals go back to their country and have a decent life, so that the citizens can have the jobs the illegals once had and could ask for a legal pay wage. I try to understand the comments of US citizens that feel disgusted about immigrants, think about been in their shoes for once. Try not to judge and understand why they do it for, they travel long distances for hope.

How about making a documentary about Americans that lost their jobs due to illegal immigration, got inferior health care due to too many illegals in emergency rooms, and whose children got sub-standard education due to the children of illegals crowding the classrooms in my home state of California?

Randy L., what's wrong with you?

Comparing immigrants to animals and calling them weak for trying to break out of poverty, is disgusting, period, regardless of one's views on the situation. If you can't think rationally then stay out of this debate.

The Border Guard is investigating a number of possible cases of arranging illegal immigration in the Kymenlaakso and Loviisa areas of south-eastern Finland. Officials suspect restaurateurs of bringing in illegal workers from abroad on several occasions.

The restaurant owners are suspected of arranging cheap labour for themselves in this manner over a period of several years.

The restaurants in question are foreign-owned and represent the low end of the price spectrum, says Lt. Jan Sundell of the Border Guard, who is heading the investigation.

He declined to say which countries the cheap labourers come from.

As part of the probe, the Border Guard, Kymenlaakso Police and tax authorities made joint raids on several restaurants in the Kotka and Hamina areas on Wednesday.

Last spring, they carried out searches of homes in Loviisa and Porvoo based on similar suspicions.

Brazilian striker Wanderson do Carmo has been netting goals for Swedish football clubGais without a residence permit.

The football authorities are now considering whether to penalize the club while the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has reported Wanderson to the police over the issue.

”It’s a routine measure. It is a crime to work in Sweden in without a permit," Johan Rahm at the board told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

Finland turned back a record number of people seeking refuge in Finland during the first half of this year. Finland is using the Dublin accord to accelerate its asylum procedure. Under the EU agreement, Finland is able to deport refugees that have applied for asylum in other member states.

By the end of June, Finland had deported 1,100 asylum seekers, which is equal to the number of people that were deported during all of last year.

This year has seen an explosive growth in the number of asylum seekers entering Finland. A third of refugees arriving in Finland have sought asylum in other EU states. Officials say unfounded asylum applications are clogging the system and rack up costs.

“At this point we support all measures that save costs and resources,” says Sirkku Päivärinne, Immigration Director at the Interior Ministry.

According to the accord, the first state that processes an asylum application is the only country where an application can be made. The Dublin agreement rules out the possibility for people to seek asylum in multiple European countries.

" In Greece it’s nearly impossible for refugees to apply for asylum,” says Kirsi Hytinantti, a lawyer at the Finnish Refugee Advice Centre.


The highest number of people on any form of assistance from the government are caucasian. Im sure the bank's that failed were run or owned by caucasian's . If i am wrong i stand corrected.Does illegal immigration put a burden on the system without a thought, but these people put more money in it than they receive. Lastly i am a proud American, that is also proud that my ancestors killed many Americans. Go figure.


One of the posts here contains - "Our forefathers did not fight and die for you to infest our cities, streets, schools, hospitals and anywhere else. The did it for people who understand obeying the law, following the law."

What law were your forefathers following when huge numbers of native Americans were slaughtered and their land snatched by force and violence?

I have to say there has been much more rational discussion in these comments than most of what I've seen on the topic of Illegal Immigration.

My only addition is that I do not believe fencing and Border Patrols should be our only line against illegal border crossing and temporary visa abuse. Projects like workplace enforcement through audits, use of eVerify with adequate time to correct errors and yes deportation of most people caught here illegally.

The US accepts more legal immigrants than any other country. If more immigrants helps our country or provides humanitarian services we should increase the legal quotas not accept uncontrolled illegal entry.

this people education, the government don´t care enough.

I was once naive too. Ah, the simplicity of youth! Unfortunately, we all have to face reality at some point, and it usually comes with age and wisdom. We can't afford them, folks. We can't take care of our own, and we'll never be any good for others until we can take care of ourselves first. Time to focus on Americans first. We have too many unemployed, homeless, broke, desperate Americans. It's so easy to pretend they're not here until it happens to someone in your own family. It happened to mine, and it hurts...real bad. Whose helping us? No one. And the state is cutting programs that for the first time, our family actually needs. The only way we're ever going to be able to help those less fortunate is by ensuring our own stability first. Illegal immigrants and their huge families have drained us dry. We can't keep it up and survive. I want my tax dollars back. They were supposed to ensure that services would be there for Americans. Instead we give double-digit billions each year, in CA, for free, to illegals for their CA born offspring, who abuse us, and then send money to their home countries, instead of pumping it back into our society. It only works if the money stays here, buys medical insurance, auto insurance, food, housing, etc. It's doomed to fail, big time. Does anyone care about Americans anymore?

It never ceases to amaze me how many people don't understand that we (each and every one of us American taxpayers) have to support each and every one of our illegal immigrants and their children. The total it costs us, the NET amount, which takes into account all taxes/monies collected from them, is averaged at $20,000 per year, per individual. This does not include costs such as education, or a plethora of hidden taxes, increased medical and auto insurance premiums (we pay additionally in the form of higher premiums to cover the costs of the growing non-insured). Hidden taxes/surcharges etc. are everywhere (look at your utility/phone bills for a sample). It goes on and on, subsidized housing, medical, food, eighteen years of Welfare for US born children of illegal parents (citizens only get 5 years of Welfare), etc. They average four children per couple, and those US born children are not counted in the costs reported for illegals because the children, born here, are citizens (the costs are hidden in this respect - like 18 years of Welfare). At minimum, an illegal immigrant family (2 parents, 4 children) costs us $120,000 a year, on average, to support.

How many more unemployed Americans will we have this time next year if we continue allowing illegals to further flood us, and how much more money will we have to cough up by continuing to support illegals and their expanding families? We've cut services to our citizens who are disabled, elderly, unemployed, etc. because we're broke. This shouldn't have happened and is a direct result of increasing poverty. So, for those of you who feel all mushy gushy about supporting the rest of the world, remember that you're turning your backs on your fellow unemployed Americans, those who've lost everything - their jobs, their homes, their insurance, and can't feed their families. Some are living in their cars. Their numbers are growing daily, they need your help, and they're asking you why you've betrayed them. We can't take care of others until we can take care of ourselves.

Blame the corrupt government of their country for not putting the best interests of the populace in front of their own greed. Blame the US government for enabling businesses here to lower the standard of our workplace to that of third world countries in enabling a lower than living wage only a moron would accept. It's all about the greed at the top. Don't portray it as if it's our fault these people have somehow suffered because of what happened through nobody's fault but their own.

7 billion inhabitants in this planet and growing. Approximately 100 million new comers are added per year according to National Geographic statistics - Human suffering is inevitable.

Under-develop countries are the biggest contributors of human misery. People KEEP HAVING children with no chance for a future. It is mostly not out of love or family planning; but out of the need to have as many children to take care of them (the parents) in the future. Now, that is the real cruelty.

In many cases most of those children grow up with resentment (The have nots) and are the same faces full of hate that we see on the television news. Chanting slogans against Western Civilization - against the Infidels - against our way of life.

In some cases some of those same undocumented people living amongst us use our democratic principles make demands. Like Aztalan Unido a Mexican separatist movement that want to take back the western territories or the fanatical Muslim extremist that preach hatred against the West.

So what can be done about that? As long as religion is in the mix "NOT MUCH"

Consequences! As parents most of us ask what are the consequences to my family, mychildren if I do something? Get drunk. Divorce. Quit a job.Move.Scream and yell at my kids.
As American citizens we need to ask what are the consequences of deportations, and raids on these small towns.
I believe that the League of woman voters has a rational response:"In achieving overall policy goals, the League supports a system for unauthorized immigrants already in the country to earn legal status, including citizenship, by paying taxes, learning English, studying civics and meeting other relevant criteria. While policy reforms, including a path to legal status, remain unachieved, the League does not support deporting unauthorized immigrants who have no history of criminal activity. "
The league's overall Immigration Position can be read

And none of their lives would be worse if they stayed home in the first place.

It is not the responsibility of America to take in every peon that feels they have a right to be here, they don't. Especially if they sneak in like rats in the darkness.

These people only come for money. Stay home and fix your respective countries. Your weakness in coming here is disgusting. Our forefathers did not fight and die for you to infest our cities, streets, schools, hospitals and anywhere else. The did it for people who understand obeying the law, following the law.

Yes, we do own this part of the world. Some of us die every day keeping it that way, people like you only want to destroy all we've built.
I am indigenous to this land, I was born here. It is mine and ours.

If you come illegaly, may your life be mired in misery, shame and poverty. Go home. Can't come legally, don't bother coming.

It is unfortunate that it takes illegal migration from Latin America for a person to try to survive. The "man" has always taken what does not belong to him. Yes, Native Americans are the entitled ones. However, the US once belonged to the Natives. As the saying goes, "what goes around comes around". The "man" will someday be the one to be deported, as he will be the minority.

How wonderful it would be if California farms that use subsidized water where nature did not anticipate farms were to pay real wages and pay the real (and prohibitive cost) of water. The unrealistic farms would fold up and the Mexican workers could make a living working on Mexican farms and not feel compelled to uproot themselves from their homeland. Their dream is NOT to leave home and become peon laborers in the US. Mexico could earn foreign exchange sending food to the US. Mexicans would prefer that. Why would Americans not prefer that, too?

Carbon footprint explodes due to immigration......
The nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached a record of 37.9 million in 2007. Immigrants account for one in eight U.S. residents, the highest level in 80 years. In 1970 it was one in 21; in 1980 it was one in 16; and in 1990 it was one in 13. Illegal aliens account for an estimated 11.3 million of the total, or almost one in three foreign born residents. Since 2000, 10.3 million immigrants have arrived — the highest seven-year period of immigration in U.S. history. More than half of post-2000 arrivals (5.6 million) are estimated to be illegal aliens.
If immigration continues at current levels, the nation’s population will increase from 301 million today to 468 million in 2060 — a 167 million (56 percent) increase. Immigrants plus their descendents will account for 105 million (63 percent) of the increase. Net immigration has been increasing for five decades; if immigration continues to increase, it will add more than the projected 105 million that will be added if immigration levels stay the same.

13% unemployment among Hispanics
American businesses have shed 6.9 million jobs in the past 20 months (the length of the current economic depression). During this same time period, American businesses have imported 2.4 million workers. While American workers are feeling the pinch, American businesses have not been forced to hire American workers. Clearly, the Congress has been protecting American businesses instead of American workers.

According to the New York Times, some Americans are feeling the pinch more than others: "...unemployment is on the rise, jumping from 9.4% in July to 9.7% in August. For several demographic groups, the unemployment rate is already in double digits, including men (10.1%), Hispanics (13%), African-Americans (15.1%) and teenagers (25.5%). In all, 14.9 million workers are now jobless, of which fully one-third have been out of work for more than six months, the highest level of long-term unemployment by far in any post World War II recession."

And 8 million illegal aliens hold American jobs.

The U.S. Census Bureau states that if immigration remains basically unchanged the U.S. population will grow by about 50% by the year 2050.
Applied proportionately to California, that means the current 37-million population will expand by another 18 million to 55 million (with no end in sight)!
The growth is being caused almost entirely by new immigrants and by births to the 10 million immigrants already living in California.
This is a state that doesn't have enough water to meet the daily needs of 37 million people and of its agricultural industry and of its natural inhabitants and ecological systems.

I am glad President Obama pointed out that America needs to create 150,000 new jobs each month simply to employ those Americans entering the work force. With this in mind why is the Congress allowing businesses to import 125,000 new foreign workers each month?

The President is right, the United States needs to create 150,000 jobs each month to keep pace with out own skyrocketing population. According to the President we are only creating 50,000 jobs each month. This means that we are creating 100,000 too few jobs each month. That means we are looking at a jobs deficit of 1.2 million over the next year (if the economy keeps improving).

Why then does the United States continue to issue 125,000 foreign worker permits each month and 35,000 green cards to foreign workers? This adds up to 160,000 foreign workers per month. Why are we allowing 160,000 foreign workers each month to compete against unemployed Americans when we are facing a monthly jobs deficit of 100,000?

We need more such raids. Such raids are an integral part of the justice system in the great Nordic democracies. They do not allow illegal immigration and do not grant citizenship to babies born there unless one parent is a citizen

And a counterpoint video that sums up the problem confronting this country:

"Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent." - Adam Smith, economist and ethicist

Everything you need to know about immigration and what to do about it humorously told.

(Roy Beck and NumbersUSA are the "gumball" heroes)

A recent poll take in Mexico revealed that 1 out of 3 Mexicans would come to the U.S. if they could. That's 35 million people. All you immigrant advocates out there: do you have room in your own house for them?

The uncomfortable truth is that we've reached critical mass in terms of illegal immigrantion to this country. Only an intellectually dishonest person could deny this. The old talking points about 'doing work no American would do' and 'we're a nation of immigrants' is increasingly falling on deaf ears. Tell that to the young Black man who can't get a job at McDonald's because it's staffed by middle-aged Latina women. Tell that to the custodial workers in L.A. whose union, Black for generations, was busted by low-wage immigrants who, shortly after getting their contracts, marched through the streets with Jesse Jackson leading the pack, waving a mop! Tell that to the construction workers, bricklayers, roofers, drywallers, painters whose wages have dropped since they have low-wage competition in the illegal immigrant. Tell it to the teachers and principals who are watching their dropout rates rise and their test scores fall as a direct result of the infusion of Latino kids into the education system. I'm talking about 1st, 2d and 3d generation kids. Tell it to the maternity wards who see an explosion in Latina teen birth rates and the hospitals who are mandated to treat anyone, in spite of immigration status and rack up millions of dollars, for a single patient who needs life-long care, and either have to close their doors or pass the losses onto their paying customers. We've been asked to celebrate diversity, but what we've seen evolved is BI-versity with Latinos and Spanish being the predominant ethnicity. Sure, I'd love to take in all the poor of the world, but it's just not possible. The U.S. has a finite amount of land, of water, of trees with which to build houses, and we're on a course to reducing our so-far obscene consumption. With every illegal immigrant and their progeny, we import new generations of consumers who want nothing more than to acquire all the goodies we have. Plastic. Diapers. Cans. Shopping bags. Any semi-educated person will tell you that population growth equals degradation of the environment. Countries like Mexico, should be forced to deal with the fact that they've ignored and neglected their people ever since the conquistadors enslaved the indiginous peoples. They need to act like leaders. And the Mexican people need to grow up, take responsibility for who they elect, and, when they make it here, stop disrespecting the people who either feed them and their families (us) or make it possible for them to feed themselves. The American people are tired and growing increasingly resentful of the expections placed in the lap of our government, our communities, our country that we have an obligation to hold their hand from cradle to grave. Milton Friedman, the economist said, "you can't have open borders and a welfare system". It would bankrupt all social services. Finally, the 'new' immigrant from Mexico is the middle class or wealthy who are fleeing the crime in their country. They are accountants, doctors, teachers, managers and their children are educated. They're not here to work a harvest, so which jobs will they compete for? Yours?

Funny when all these people talk about deporting these illegals. But as a educated Hispanic man I see all my white neighbors with Illegals cutting their grass, cleaning their pools and taking care of their children.

So WHO is truly to blame for all these immigrants here in the US.

One last thing, the other day at my neigborhood home depot. What do I see a white man picking up a truck load of day laborers...........

It’s all about the entillements.

Like any other criminal, they made the choice to commit a crime and they suffered the consequences. And through their decisions, they put their family at risk as well. I have no more compassion for them then I have any other criminal. They should be treated humanely and respectfully but be deported back to their home country. It is possible through photography and film making to make one feel sorry for almost anyone. It has no bearing on the law though.

How do you tax the little money they make, leaving them with even less? And do you think this amount will offset the cost of the medical treatment they use in the ER? Imagine how much money a person who has cancer (like the person mentioned in the article) would cost, and you expect to recoup that with taxing people who make less than minimum wage. Some of you no nothing of economics.

To Freedom1
Yes the video is sad. There is nothing pleasant about deporting anyone. Yes Native Americans got a raw deal but there's very little that can be done about that. It's part of the past and to be honest two wrongs don't make a right. Pilgrims illegally immigrated here and took what didn't belong to them. Now South and Central Americans are doing the same. If you sympathize with the Native Americans for their plight how can you not feel the same for American citizens who by the way had nothing to do with the crimes of their ancestors. A double standard if you ask me.
It's nice to know you feel secure in your profession. So do I but with the way things are going out sourcing can and will affect us all including those of us with education. My point. The fear comes not only from "non-English speaking persons, with no education" but from foreign English speaking persons, with education willing to work for less and has been going on for quite some time now. So in case you haven't noticed, we are and have been "in deep doo doo" for awhile.
I personally don't feel we own this part of the world if your speaking hemispherical. I do feel we own this territory though. Just as Canada owns theirs, Mexico theirs so on and so forth. Each country has a right to enforce the laws of their territory. Trust me if Americans start to en mass immigrate to Guatemala illegally Guatemala would do the same and be well within their rights to do so. The job of their government is to protect the interests of their citizens first and foremost as is ours. I feel for the plight of the people in the video but in the end they broke the law. The guy in the video said we have to take into account the situation that brought them here. I don't think so. My parents came here from Jamaica. They came from an extremely poverty stricken and violent part of Kingston. They both could've easily gone to England but they wanted to be in America. As bad as they wanted to get out of there they both say they never once considered just sneaking in. They researched our immigration laws and then over moms protests pop came over on a travel visa and went straight to the Army recruiter station from the airport. He served 10 years with 3 tours in Vietnam when 1 tour was all it took to earn a citizenship for them both. Mom and pop represent what we as a country should be looking for in our immigrants. Honest, law abiding people who don't want anything given to them if they haven't earned it. The people in this film have broken OUR LAWS. They should be punished like any other U.S. citizen would be if they broke the law not rewarded because you feel sad for them. If a person robbed a bank and got caught would you still let him keep the money because he or she was out of work, poor and trying to feed their family? No. Why? Because there are always options, always another path to take. Most of the times the path is hard steep and long like the one my father took but in the end they are both here doing well and living The American Dream. The easier path would've left them both in fear of being discovered. Always not belonging. Always not trusting the very people you came here to live and work among. As pop would put it " You've gotten in the yard but you're still only standing in the cold looking in through the windows". I personally don't understand or respect anyone that would accept a second class life like that for themselves let alone for their children who are brought here and raised only to halve to live the same second class life of their parents. They say they want to improve the quality of life for their children but what do these same kids do when they get caught and sent back to a country they don't know? In the end it's pure selfishness on the part of the parents. They want what they want and don't care about breaking any laws to get it. With that mentality if things go bad for them here we shouldn't be surprised when they or their kids rob and kill to get what they want. The kids will follow the examples set forth by the parents. I mean if you can break one law for necessities sake then why not two or three? If they get caught then they can just show how sad their life was in their home country and we can reward them with citizenship.

To MadMommy:

Is so sad that after viewing the short video you still feel that way.
In the news lately I've seen people almost crying asking for "their" America back (i.e. health care reform townhall meetings).
Go please tell that to the Indians (native America's that is).

I for one I'm not afraid of illegal immigrants taking my job and if you're afraid of them, then you have WAY more problems than you think.
If non-english speaking persons, with no education can come to our country and steal "OUR" jobs, then we're in deep doo-doo.

I'm not advocating "open-borders" (there's too many people out there that mean harm to us), but what in the world gives you the right to think you own this part of the world?

I bet you would also immigrate illegally to another country if faced with the situation to feed your kids or help your sick family members.

How can anybody be called "human" if so cold and non-compassionate inside?

Come on people! Is this is what we have become?

I say tax them and let me contribute to our economy.


For every illegal immigrant who currently holds a job in this country, there's an American citizen who needs a job. An American family who needs to pay a mortgage and feed a family. For every illegal immigrant child that attends a school in this country, there's an American child who sits in a crowded classroom because they are sharing limited funds meant for American citizens.

Enforcement of all laws passed in the 1986 amnesty act. Border enforcement, workplace enforcement and deportation of all persons here without documentation.

Deportation by attrition, NOW!


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