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.