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Documentary Filmmaker to Present Human Face of Undocumented Immigration in Talk and Screening at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — Documentary filmmaker Luis Argueta will discuss and screen an excerpt from his latest film on Monday, Sept. 27, as part of Ithaca College’s observance of Constitution Day and Latino Heritage Month. His presentation, “Crossing the Border: Where Does the Constitution Stand?” will be held at 7 p.m. in Textor 102. It is free and open to the public.

Argueta’s newest film, “abUSed: The Postville Raid,” tells the story of one of the largest, most expensive and most brutal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in the history of the United States. On May 12, 2008, 389 undocumented workers were arrested by 900 heavily armed ICE agents at Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa, the largest kosher slaughterhouse and meat-packing plant in the country.

Within four days, the vast majority of these workers were fast-tracked through the legal system, convicted of criminal charges and sentenced to prison. Families were torn apart and a community of great diversity was left in ruin. With the loss of approximately one fifth of its workforce, Postville continues to face a severe economic crisis.

By weaving together the personal stories of the individuals, the families and the town directly affected by the events of May 12, the film puts a human face on the issue of immigration reform and serves as a cautionary tale against abuses of constitutional rights.

Argueta is a critically acclaimed Guatemalan film director and producer. His 1994 film, “El Silencio de Neto,” was the first submission from Guatemala in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards.

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Constitution Day is an annual observance held nationwide to commemorate the September 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution. Latino Heritage Month is celebrated nationally each year to recognize and celebrate the culture and contributions of Latino Americans.