A documentary about the 2008 immigration raid of the Agri-Processors plant in Postville will make its Iowa debut tonight with a screening in Cedar Falls. The project was produced and directed by Luis Argueta who was born in Guatemala. Many of the nearly 400 people arrested in the raid were also from that country. The University of Northern Iowa’s Immigration Center is sponsoring the event and its director, Mark Grey, predicts a lively post-film discussion.
“It’s going to be one of those situations, I think, where not everyone is going to agree with the outcome of the film or what the film is trying to suggest,” Grey said. “As with any filmmaker, Mr. Argueta certainly has his own agenda and I think it’s going to be a very interesting evening.” The immigration raid on the kosher meatpacking plant in May 2008 was one of the largest operations of its kind. Argeta’s documentary, titled “Abused, The Postville Raid,” includes personal stories of family members and townspeople who were there that day. It also addresses immigration reform. Grey says the film is getting national and international attention.
“I think it will be somewhat controversial, but I think that’s the role of universities to provide opportunities for controversies to be discussed,” Grey said. He says the film has been shown once or twice on the East Coast and is currently being shown at a film festival in Sweden.
The documentary will be shown at 7 o’clock tonight in U.N.I.’s Lang Hall. Another screening is scheduled on Friday afternoon from 4-6:30 at Catholic Charities, 601 Grand Avenue, in Des Moines. Agri Star Meat and Poultry purchased the former Agri-Processors plant in 2009.