“In the Shadow of the Raid” is an independent, 30-minute documentary by Greg Brosnan and Jennifer Szymaszek telling how the largest immigration raid in US history unleashed economic disaster on a poor Guatemalan valley and an Iowa farm town. To buy a copy or to organize a screening, write to us at streetdogmedia@gmail.com

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A 15-minute version also called “In the Shadow of the Raid” was broadcast throughout the United States on PBS Frontline/World on Tuesday May 11, the raid’s second anniversary and is available for viewing on the program’s website.

On May 12, 2008, immigration officials stormed a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, arresting nearly 400 undocumented workers in one of the biggest roundups in U.S. history.

Supporters of the raid celebrated it as a law enforcement victory while immigrant rights groups slammed it as draconian.

Meanwhile up a winding dirt road, a poor Guatemalan village was dying, and so was Postville itself.

The raid severed an economic lifeline linking the heart of the United States to one of the poorest corners of the Western Hemisphere, with an impact as far-reaching and catastrophic as any earthquake or hurricane.

However, this is not just another tale of misery in a far-off land. Postville itself was a boomtown before the raid — a rare exception in a part of rural America that has been emptying out as the changing economics of agriculture alter the social landscape. Now it was on the brink of economic collapse after losing much of its population and its main employer — all in the middle of the worst recession in decades.

To buy a copy or organize a screening of the full-length, 30 minute version, please email streetdogmedia@gmail.com.

For an in-depth analysis of the legal implications of the way the Agriprocessors workers were processed, please read Professor Erik-Camayd-Freixas’ definitive essay.

This project was made possible with grants from the Institute for Justice and Journalism, which includes Ford Foundation funding, and from the Washington D.C.-based Fund for Investigative Journalism.