Camayd Freixas Essay About Myself

Anyone who has doubts that this country is abusing and terrorizing undocumented immigrant workers should read an essay by Erik Camayd-Freixas, a professor and Spanish-language court interpreter who witnessed the aftermath of a huge immigration workplace raid at a meatpacking plant in Iowa.

The essay chillingly describes what Dr. Camayd-Freixas saw and heard as he translated for some of the nearly 400 undocumented workers who were seized by federal agents at the Agriprocessors kosher plant in Postville in May.

Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.

What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.

Dr. Camayd-Freixas’s essay describes “the saddest procession I have ever witnessed, which the public would never see” — because cameras were forbidden.

“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 marching out again to be bused to different county jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”

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  • Ph.D. Harvard University
  • M.A. Harvard University
  • B.A. Tufts University, summa cum laude
  • Exchange, Paris-Sorbonne, Semiotics ** Specializations


  • 2016 President's Council Worlds Ahead Faculty Award, Florida International University
  • 2015 Excellence in Research Award, Florida International University
  • 2014 International Latino Book Award for U.S. Immigration Reform, Los Angeles
  • 2014 Nominated, Pulitzer Prize in U.S. History for U.S. Immigration Reform, NY
  • 2013 Excellence in Advising and Mentoring Award, Florida International University
  • 2010 Human Resources Development Recognition, Telemundo Network
  • 2010 Excellence in Engagement Inaugural Award, Florida International University
  • 2010 Clarion Award, Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals
  • 2010 100 Latinos en Miami, Asociación FusiónArte, Madrid
  • 2009 Arthur C. Helton Human Rights Award, American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • 2009 Top Scholars from Across the Disciplines, Florida International University
  • 2009 Sister Maureen T. Kelleher Altruism Award, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
  • 2009 Humanitarian Award, Republic of Guatemala, Ministry of Foreign Relations
  • 2008 Linguist of the Year, Inttranet Global Translators Network, Rouen, France
  • 2008 President‟s Commendation, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • 2002 Excellence in Research Award, Florida International University


“Cognitive Theory of Simultaneous Interpreting and Training.” Proceedings of the 52nd Conference of the American Translators Association (New York: ATA, 2011).

“Court Interpreter Ethics and the Role of Professional Organizations.” Interpreting in a Changing Landscape: Proceedings of the 6th Internacional Critical Link Conference (Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2011.

“Translating María la O.” ATA Source Fall (2010): 6-16.

“Poeta en Nueva Gerona: La Cuba de Hart Crane.” La Torre: Revista de la Universidad de Puerto Rico 14:53-54 (2009): 78-106.

“Interpreting After the Largest ICE Raid in US History: A Personal Account.” Journal of Latino Studies 7:1 Spring (2009): 123-139.

“Raids, Rights, and Reform: The Postville Case and the Immigration Crisis.” DePaul Law School Journal for Social Justice 2:1 Fall (2008): 1-24.

“El fractal de Mandelbrot. Del travestismo al Caos: Fuentes del nuevo realismo aleatorio de Antonio Benítez Rojo, Mujer en traje de batalla.” Caribe (2007): 1-47.

“A Revolution in Consecutive Interpretation: Digital Voice Recorder-Assisted CI.” ATA Chronicle 34:3 (2005): 40-46.

“The Cult of the Goddess Mita on the Eve of a New Millennium: Socio-Anthropological Look at a Caribbean Urban Religion,” Latin American Issues 13 (1997): 1-14.

Erik.htm, “Heteroglosia y parodia historiográfica en Cien años de soledad,” Romance Languages Annual 8 (1997): 342-350.

“Reflections on Magical Realism: A Return to Legitimacy, The Legitimacy of Return,” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 23:2 (June 1996): 580-589.

“Los dos finales en „El matadero‟ de Esteban Echeverría,” Romance Review 3.1 (1993): 29-37.


“The DREAM Act and the Wealth of Nations.” American Forum. Dec. 8, 2010.

“Arizona Immigration Law: Sowing Seeds of Tyranny.” American Forum. April 30, 2010.

“A Rose for Sister Mary.” The Cedar Rapids Gazette. Oct. 25, 2009.

“What Court Ruling on Identity Theft Means to Migrants.” Augusta Free Press. June 8, 2009.

“Investigate the Postville-Raid Prosecutions.” The Des Moines Register. May 28, 2009.

“Postville: One year later.” The Phoenix. May 15, 2009.


The New York Times: Julia Preston, “An Interpreter Speaking Up for Migrants.” July 11, 2008.

New York Times Sunday Editorial: “The Shame of Postville, Iowa.” July 13, 2008.

AbUSed: The Postville Raid (documentary): Dir. Luis Argueta, Dec. 2010.

FIU Magazine: Interview w/Dan Grech, “Breaking the Silence: Interpreter and FIU professor Erik Camayd-Freixas gave voice to 500 undocumented workers in court and found his own in the process.” March 11, 2009.

Global Atlanta: Phil Bolton, Interview with Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas, April 30, 2009.

La Voz del Migrante, Guatemala: “Honor a quien honor merece.” Feb. 2, 2009.

Tempos Novos. “Entrevista” por Óscar Curros. Galicia. Nov. 2010.

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