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ICE Denies Stay of Removal Request for Iowa Pastor and Father of 4 U.S. Citizen Children

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Despite Renewed Dept. Priorities, ICE Insists on Wasting Resources Deporting Beloved Pastor and Separating American Family

Today, in the wake of a relentlessnationwide mobilization against the arrest of Mennonite Pastor Max Villatoro, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decided to deny a stay of removal for Pastor Max, making the horrific nightmare of deportation one step closer to reality for Pastor Max and his family.  In response, Pastor Max’s attorney, David Leopold, has filed a motion for reconsideration and is taking immediate steps to have the case considered under the administration’s new “felons, not families” enforcement priorities.

Over the weekend, supporters from Iowa and across the country recorded and sent videos to President Obama, asking him to keep Pastor Max’s family together (see here).  Pastor Max’s wife, Gloria, also joined in on the effort, making an emotional plea to President Obama in her own video, which also features their four U.S. citizen children.  These videos follow a petition drive that’s driven over 42,000 messages of support to ICE.

In addition to this ongoing mobilization effort, today, national and local faith leaders, community members, family members and attorneys are available to speak about Pastor Max’s case.  If you’d like to schedule an interview, please contact Katy Green (katy@newpartners.com or 650-464-1545).  See below for a full list of spokespeople available for interviews.

Originally targeted for deportation because of an immigration identification related charge from 1999, Pastor Max’s deep ties to the community, four U.S. citizen children and current position as a respected pastor of the Iglesia Menonita Torre Fuerte (First Mennonite Church) of Iowa City, Iowa, make clear that he should not be considered a deportation priority, especially in light of the President’s commitment to keeping families together.  The fact that he’s being ripped away in such a callous fashion is truly an outrage and stands in strong contradiction to the administration’s “felons, not families” program.

To learn more about Iowa’s Voice, a project of America’s Voice, check out www.IowasVoice.org.   

Spokespeople Available for Interviews:

Gloria, Pastor Max’s Wife

David Leopold, Pastor Max’s Attorney and Former President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

David Boshart, Executive Conference Minister for Central Plains Mennonite Conference

Misty Rebik, Executive Director for the Center for Worker Justice

Rev. Noel Andersen of Church World Service

Matt Hildreth, Digital Director for Iowa’s Voice (a project of America’s Voice)