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Luis Argueta visits Luther for “The U Turn” screening

Luis+Argueta+speaks+to+the+audience+in+Valders+206.
Luis Argueta speaks to the audience in Valders 206.

Luis Argueta speaks to the audience in Valders 206.

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Olivia Enquist (‘19) | Chips

Luis Argueta speaks to the audience in Valders 206.

Olivia Enquist, Staff Writer

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A screening and discussion of Luis Argueta’s 2017 documentary “The U Turn” took place in Valders 206 on Oct. 11. The film and subsequent discussion covered the process of gaining U-Visas, specifically for workers affected by the Postville raids of 2008. The event was sponsored by College Ministries, the modern languages department, the literacy and linguistics department, the Diversity Center, and Hola Enlaces.

“The U Turn” was the final installment in a trilogy of films regarding the 2008 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid of the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The other two films in the series are “abUSed” and “Abrazos.” The first two films, respectively, focus on the specific details of the raid and the journey of workers’ children meeting their extended family in Guatemala for the first time. “U Turn” specifically covered the process of how immigrant workers and relief workers petitioned for U-Visas after the raid.

A U-Visa is a specific type of nonimmigrant visa that handles victims of crimes, including their immediate family members. Often times, the recipients have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. 179 U-Visas were granted to some of the workers and their families after the Postville raids.

Hola Enlaces leadership member Hannah Potter (‘18) described how volunteering within the Postville community gave the group connections to those affected by the raids.

“Hola Enlaces has been volunteering to help teach ESL [English as a second language] classes in Postville for several years, so as an organization we have connections and relationships with several individuals and families in that community,” Potter said. “One of our goals as a club is to increase awareness about immigration related issues and provide opportunities for the Luther community to be engaged in these conversations.”

Argueta also visited Luther in 2010 to discuss his documentary “abUSed.” Hola Enlaces held a viewing of this documentary again in September of this year in preparation for Argueta’s return to campus.

“We have shown Argueta’s previous films in the past, so when we were approached to be a part of bringing him and ‘The U Turn’ to campus, we were very excited about the opportunity,” Potter said. “It took the financial support and leadership of all the sponsors to make this screening and discussion with Argueta possible. I was thrilled with how many people showed their investment in learning about the experiences of our Postville neighbors.”

Audience member Abby Kraus (‘19) commented on the relevance of the events in the film.

“The postville raid is an extremely important event, especially to northeast Iowa, and even more now in this political climate,” Kraus said. “People need to know that there is a face and a story behind every deportation or arrest due to lack of documentation.”

Potter described why she thought this event in particular was important to bring to Luther, especially as it relates to student perspective about the surrounding community.

“We think it’s important to share the history of the 2008 Postville raid as well as more recent stories related to the community with both students and residents of Decorah,” Potter said. “Many people otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to hear the stories of the individuals filmed in these documentaries.”

Hola Enlaces Treasurer Will Simonson (‘19) sees this missing opportunity as a problem. He hopes that the worldview of Luther students can be widened.

“We’re aware of issues that happen outside of Decorah, but I think it is important for people to really see the issues that people are facing in the nation are still happening within our community,” Simonson said. “Especially in Postville, which is a small town but still sees a lot of the problems that people face on a national scale. [The documentary] helps to bring these issues closer to home and educates people on the things that are happening around them.”

Kraus appreciated that the event highlighted the voices of immigrants and created opportunity for a continuing dialogue about issues of immigration.

“I was glad that so many clubs around campus worked to promote this event because it shows Luther’s support for a group of people who often don’t have their stories told,” Kraus said. “I hope that we continue to sponsor events like this and continue to let narratives — other than those of powerful and wealthy men — be told about immigration.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Luis Argueta visits Luther for “The U Turn” screening”

  1. VJ on November 10th, 2017 9:48 pm

    I am a victim of crime, I already applied for U visa on Jan 2017 n my lawyer applied for my Employment authority card on may2017 still I didn’t got anything.
    I can understand that Uvisa will take time to approve,as it’s just 10,000 per year limit, but I am frustrated because I did’t got the work permit even, after 5 months and just because of it don’t have any Authorize documents and icant get driving licence,n i can’t drive, I can’t work.
    I am here with my wife and my kid, I am all dependent on others for everything,
    Now I am thinking I did very big mistake but doing the U visa process.
    I request to all If any one can help me or guide me on that to know what to do now?

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