Davenport Diocese’s response to ICE raid in Mount Pleasant

MOUNT PLEASANT — On May 9, U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) raided the Midwest Precast Concrete facility, arresting 32 people for alleged immigration violations.

Deacon David Montgomery, the Diocese of Davenport’s communication director, said the diocese is doing what it can – spiritually, emotionally, legally and financially – to support those who are suffering as a result of the raid. “The raid… provides a reminder that our country’s immigration program is still broken,” he said in a press release. “The escalation of immigration detentions only serves to separate families and enflame fear and panic in our communities.  We are resolved in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate and common-sense immigration reform for all those who seek safety that can be found in our country, a country that is at risk of losing its moral conscience.”

The night of the raid, more than 100 individuals gathered at First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant, a designated “safe house” for family members and others affected by raid. “It was so heartbreaking,” observed Loxi Hopkins, a volunteer with the diocesan Social Action Office. “There were moms crying, saying ‘what are we going to do?’” She said several law and labor groups were at on-hand to gather information in an attempt to help the individuals in custody, and to offer legal guidance to those present at the church. Other groups and individuals gauged the families’ immediate needs and offered assistance. Father Paul Connolly, pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Mount Pleasant, was present to offer spiritual support.

Solidarity vigils have been planned throughout the state to pray for the families affected and demand that those arrested be released on bond as soon as possible, that they have access to appropriate legal counsel, and that due process is respected.

The raid occurred just three days before the ten-year anniversary of the Postville raid, the largest immigration raid in Iowa’s history, where 389 workers were arrested.

The Catholic Messenger will update this story as new information is released.

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2 thoughts on “Davenport Diocese’s response to ICE raid in Mount Pleasant

  1. Thank you so much for your own contributions to these families. I am a proud member of First Pres, and your donations were duly noted.

  2. Diocesan staff, religious sisters from the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, the Clinton Franciscans and others from the Diocese of Davenport were in attendance at the 10th Anniversary Interfaith Prayer Service today at St. Bridget Catholic Church in Postville to commemorate the May 12, 2008 immigration raid. Interfaith leaders from the Jewish and Muslim communities joined with Christians and other people of goodwill in commemorating the devastating immigration raid that in strengthened the resolve of the small northeast Iowa community to stand in solidarity with immigrants. Amongst the faith leaders speaking with Archbishop Emeritus Jerome Hanus and Archbishop O. Jackels, as well as Sister Mary McCauley, BVM, Rev. Paul Ouderkirk, both of whom directed the spiritual and corporal response at the time of the crisis. Rev., Nils de Jesus Hernandez, Pastor of the Trinity Cluster welcomed those in attendance while also asking all to hold those affected by the Mt. Pleasant immigration raid in prayer. The following Summons Prayer was recited together by all in the large crowd attending:

    God of the Universe, these are uneasy times when brothers and sisters everywhere are struggling to escape want, war, carnage, chaos, pain. I carry the imprint of their struggles upon my soul. I hear the frightened voices of the immigrants and refugees with nowhere to turn and few to give them counsel. I hear the desperation of families shackled to systems hopelessly broken. And yes, I hear your Summons, your call to attend to those in need. I cannot turn a blind eye, a deaf ear. The time is now. How I am to respond to your Summons is not clear. I can only trust that you will give me a sense of direction and purpose, a heart filled with compassion, the strength to step up to the challenge, and your companionship on the way! Amen!

    Respectfully submitted, Kent E. Ferris, OFS, Director of Social Action & Catholic Charities, Diocese of Davenport

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