MOUNT PLEASANT, IA (May 10, 2018) Yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staged a dramatic workplace raid on MPC Enterprises, a concrete plant in Mount Pleasant, IA, arresting 32 people for alleged immigration violations. The Mount Pleasant community and supporters will gather tonight at the Henry County Courthouse (100 E Washington Street in Mount Pleasant) at 5pm CT for a vigil to demand their release. There will also be solidarity vigils in cities and towns across Iowa.
“This raid is devastating for the people who were detained, their families, and the entire community,” said Erica Johnson, Immigrant Rights Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Iowa. “ICE is sowing fear in our communities, breaking apart families, and hurting the local economy. Shame on local law enforcement for colluding with ICE to let this happen.” AFSC is a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for almost a century, and is on the ground in Mount Pleasant helping to mitigate the raid’s impacts.
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. “It is a bitter irony that 10 years after Postville, Iowa is still being used as a staging ground for dangerous and destructive enforcement actions,” said Johnson. “We need ICE out of our communities.”
Attendees at the vigil will be demanding that all those who were arrested be released on bond as soon as possible, that they have access to appropriate legal council, and that due process is respected. The vigil is being organized by IowaWINS, an organization based out of the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant. The Church has served as a sanctuary and an organizing hub for those coming together to respond to the raids.
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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.