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2007 ICE Raid: A Year Later, the Chill Remains

June 9, 2008

Portland, OR – This week marks one year since Oregon's largest immigration raid nabbed some 167 workers at the Fresh Del Monte plant in North Portland, and some are still in a kind of legal limbo. Not everyone picked up was deported after the raid; at least two dozen women among them who are single parents are still in Oregon, but they're not allowed to work and are required to check in weekly with immigration authorities.

Beth Poteet of the Oregon New Sanctuary Movement reports those women have had to rely on church groups to make ends meet.

"Most of them are from Mexico, a few are from Guatemala, and the difficult thing is many of them have children who are U.S. citizens. So their children have the right, legally, to be here, and the mothers do not. They've been in limbo for a year as they're trying to figure this out."

Poteet hopes that with the telling of immigrants' stories, more people hearing them will see the need for reform, in both free trade and immigration policies.

"It's unfair on the one hand for our government to be creating policies abroad that are pushing people to migrate and, at the same time, punishing people who are migrating. The system is broken -- it's ripping apart families. That's not fair."

While many groups support the idea of changing immigration laws, some believe the government should make it tougher to work in the U.S., while others say that's unrealistic.

Faith groups and others supporting immigrants' rights have organized a full week of events to call attention to the situation, including a vigil at the Fresh Del Monte plant on Wednesday morning, and an interfaith service and dinner on Thursday at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Portland.

A full list of events is available online at

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR