More than 40 vigils will take place around the country today, the anniversary of the Postville, Iowa, immigration raid. Events around the country will feature ringing of church bells and calls for worker justice, family unity and just and humane immigration reform.

An interfaith prayer service is scheduled for this morning in downtown Chicago, followed by a procession to the city's Immigrants Custom Enforcement (ICE) office. The event is sponsored by 8th Day Center for Justice, Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and PASO – West Suburban Action Project. A diverse group of prominent priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis and religious community leaders have been invited to speak.

"As we commemorate this anniversary we stand in solidarity with the 389 workers who were detained, said Sister Mary McCauley, BVM, Coordinator of Commemoration Prayer Vigil and Walk for St. Bridget's Parish in Postville. "We vigorously call for comprehensive immigration reform, just labor practices, family reunification and an end to raids. We cannot permit what happened in Postville, Iowa on May 12, 2008 to happen to another town or group of people. It is our hope that the tragedy of Postville will bring about a change in our immigration law."

Lauri Lowell, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New Haven highlighted that "municipalities have a difficult time trying to encourage civic involvement and cooperation with local law enforcement with a community of residents who are living in the shadows, so to speak. But when New Haven tried to rectify this problem by instituting the Elm City Resident Card, ICE raided the immigrant community within 36 hours. It certainly seemed as though the federal government was sending a message to other local governments not to follow New Haven's lead."

Father Marc Fallon of Catholic Social Services of New Bedford, MA continued, "the Supreme Court decision last week, which rejected the federal identity theft charges of the immigrants detained in Postville, reflects the unwillingness of ICE to consider from the outset the lived realities of immigrant workers. Of 361 workers detained in the New Bedford, MA, raid, over 200 have either been released for custodial care of minor children or in the process of normalizing their status or applying for political asylum."

Mark Lauritsen, International Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and Director of its Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division continued by saying "it is important that we take time not only to remember the tragic outcome of the raids, and to offer our prayers to the families and workers, but that we also use this historical marker as an opportunity to chart a new course for the future -- one that includes comprehensive immigration reform and aggressive enforcement of our nation's labor laws. The raids in Postville and across the country will go down as a dark period in our nation's history. The Bush Administration's heavy-handed enforcement tactics left in its wake devastated communities and broken families. They did nothing to fix our broken immigration system or to protect the vulnerable men, women and children who are exploited by bad employers.”

On May 12th, 2008, ICE agents arrested 389 people at Agriprocessors Inc., the local kosher meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa. At the time, this was the largest raid in the history of the United States.

Source: AV

Postville struggling one year after raid

A year after the Immigrants Custom Enforcement raided Agriprocessors' Postville, Iowa, processing facility, the town of Postville is hoping that the plant is sold, for the sake of the town. "If the plant sells, life might return to normal within a few years," Pastor Steve Brackett of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Postville told the Associated press. "It might. There'll be a lot of time involved with making up lost ground. The businesses we've lost are not going to reopen. If it doesn't end up selling, we are in dire straits."

Some lines at the plant have reopened while a bankruptcy trustee looked for a buyer, but the plant is still operating far below normal employment numbers. A March auction didn't find a buyer, but last week an unnamed company bought out a bank's credit line for Agriprocessors, potentially signaling a new buyer. The trustee said that there are a half-dozen companies interested in the plant, with three companies actively pursuing a deal.

"This town has been through so much, we don't want to have false hope and experience an additional letdown," Brackett said. "People have learned a great deal about many things, including what is involved in the sale of a major corporation, especially one in trouble."

Source: Associated Press

Kraft's DiGornio line expands to include flatbread melts

The DiGiorno brand of pizzas, produced by Kraft Foods, is bringing fresh-baked taste beyond the pizza aisle with new DiGiorno Flatbread Melts, a line of premium, single-serve handheld meals. The melts feature toasty flatbread folded over Italian-inspired ingredients such as white meat chicken, fire-roasted vegetables and delectable cheeses.

"Whether you're buried under a full desk of work or running late to a meeting because of noon-time traffic jams, we understand that finding time to enjoy lunch can be a challenge," said Tom Moe, Director-Marketing of DiGiorno. "With new DiGiorno Flatbread Melts, we're serving up a delicious, premium meal in just minutes to help busy consumers make the most of their lunch."

New DiGiorno Flatbread Melts are available in four varieties:
* Chicken Parmesan Flatbread Melts (6 oz.) - With white meat chicken, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses, and green peppers in a sweet Marinara sauce
* Italian-Style Meatball & Four Cheese Flatbread Melts (5.9 oz.) - With Italian-style meatballs, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses in a sweet Marinara sauce
* Chicken & Bacon Ranch Flatbread Melts (6 oz.) - With white meat chicken, Applewood smoked bacon, Mozzarella cheese and red onion in a Ranch sauce
* Steak & Fire Roasted Vegetables Flatbread Melts (6 oz.) - With steak, a blend of Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses, fire-roasted red and yellow peppers, zucchini and red onions in a sweet Marinara sauce

Source: Kraft Foods