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How this town is coping 10 years after one of America's largest immigration raids

Hundreds of ICE agents descended on on a meat-processing plant in rural Postville, Iowa, in May 2008 and detained nearly 20 percent of the town’s population.

by David Noriega
Jan 4 2018, 6:00pm

When President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of former slaughterhouse executive Shalom Rubashkin last month, he did nothing to help the nearly 400 undocumented immigrants arrested at his meat-processing plant.

In May 2008, hundreds of ICE agents descended on Rubashkin's facility in rural Postville, Iowa, where they detained nearly 20 percent of the town’s population, mostly workers from Mexico and Guatemala. While the White House cleared Rubashkin of his remaining 27-year sentence for financial crimes, the town is still feeling the raid's effects.

10 years ago, Postville was the picture of globalization: Large numbers of Latin American immigrants came to work at plants owned by Orthodox Jews, who were new immigrants themselves. Today, Postville has become synonymous with the militarized approach the government now takes to immigration enforcement.

VICE News spoke to Arline Geronimus, a professor of public health at the University of Michigan, who studied Postville as an example of what she calls "weathering" — the long-term, adverse effects that societal prejudice can have on the health of minorities.

This segment originally aired December 21, 2017 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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