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Federally Certified Interpreter to Share Reflects from Postville at Clarke, March 11

posted March 4, 2010

Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas, a federally certified interpreter who translated at federal hearings in Waterloo, Iowa, after the 2008 immigration raid at Agri-Processors, Inc., a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, will speak to audiences throughout eastern Iowa in March.  

With the tour organized by six congregations of Catholic Sisters in the region, while in Dubuque, Camayd-Freixas will present “Immigrant Rights and American Values,” at Clarke University on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m. in the College’s Jansen Music Hall. The presentation reflects his reaction to the hearings and the opinions he has expressed before Congress and in numerous essays published in the ensuing months. Admission is free and the public invited to attend.

Camayd-Freixas, a Harvard-trained communications analyst, was one of 26 interpreters who started the court hearings in Waterloo, Iowa, on May 13, 2008, and one of approximately 16 interpreters who stayed the whole two weeks. Shortly after his experience, he composed an essay entitled “Interpreting after the Largest ICE Raid in US History,” which has been read by thousands and made its way to Congress.

In his essay, he recalled his courtroom experience: “Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the slaughterhouse workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before being marched out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”

In his statement at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Camayd-Freixas identified 13 problems in the judicial process that he observed, including inadequate access to legal counsel and no meaningful presumption of innocence at initial appearance.

Camayd-Freixas is professor of Latin American literature, director of translation studies, and founder of the Research Initiative on Immigration Reform at Florida International College in Miami. He has published and lectured worldwide on language, literature and cultural studies. A literary critic, social theorist and expert in forensic linguistics for federal and state courts, he has trained more than 3,000 interpreters in professional ethics and standards of practice, and regularly works on Spanish television broadcasts of presidential speeches, debates, and special events. He has interpreted internationally for eight different heads of state, including President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI.

For more information, contact the Clarke University Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.

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