Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Iowa have set their sights on their latest low priority target for deportation: Max Villatoro, a local Mennonite Pastor and father of four U.S. citizen children.
ICE arrived without warning at Villatoro’s home a 6:30am on March 3rd. Whisking him away in handcuffs, he barely had a chance to say goodbye to his wife, Gloria, and his children—Anthony, Etna, Angela, and Aileen.
Max was originally targeted for deportation because of an immigration identification related charge from 1999. Max’s position as a respected religious leader of his community, make clear that he should not be considered a deportation priority, especially in light of the President’s commitment to keeping families together.
But regardless of these charges, Max should not be deported. He is a respected community member and pastor of the Iglesia Menonita Torre Fuerte (First Mennonite Church) of Iowa City, Iowa. and has strong ties to the community.
According to Matt Hildreth, Digital Director for Iowa’s Voice: “This is beyond outrageous. There are clear factors in Max’s case indicating that he is not a threat to national security, border security, or public safety, and should not therefore be an enforcement priority. If the administration is serious about keeping families together, then they should start by giving Pastor Max the deportation relief he deserves. Until then, Iowans will continue to stand strong with Max and his family.”