Friday, October 24, 2014

Shattered Dreams: the story of a historic I.C.E. raid

Virginia Gibbs, professor emerita of Spanish, will present a reading and discussion of her new book, Shattered Dreams: The Story of a Historic I.C.E. Raid in the Words of the Detainees, at the library on Monday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m.

Published in March, the book gives the testimonials of ten workers whose lives were devastated by the largest immigration raid in U.S. history when, in 2008, local and federal authorities entered the Agriprocessor meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, and arrested approximately 25% of the town's inhabitants.

With special emphasis on women and children, the stories share the lives of each person, beginning in childhood and ending after the raid and subsequent jail sentences. The narrations give voice to the immigrants who were detained and imprisoned for identity theft, though the U.S. Supreme Court has since declared that action unconstitutional. For the first time, the detained workers tell their own stories of how and why they came to the U.S., working conditions in the meat packing industry, the violent raid itself, and families torn apart.

Gibbs has said that "since I first met and heard these immigrants' stories, I was struck by how much they wanted to tell people who they were and what had happened to them." She and co-author Luz María Hernández decided they had to give these men, women and children that opportunity. These true stories vividly portray the fear, violence and harassment suffered by the undocumented, but also show their strength in the face of poverty and inhumane working conditions.

U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez has said that "Postville is . . . still an image that haunts and inspires me. It is a story that must be told and remembered." Professor Erik Camayd affirms that the "long-silenced voices of the humble migrants victimized by the federal raid at Postville, Iowa, are recovered at last in this volume."

Gibbs moved to the Oregon coast two years ago and has been a volunteer with Centro de Ayuda and the Immigration Information Response Team.  For more information, check the library's website,

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