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In the Darkness of Night, ICE Accelerates Plans to Deport Beloved Iowa Pastor and Father of Four U.S. Citizen Children

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After Series of Arbitrary Transfers to Multiple Detention Centers, ICE Seeks Apparent Retaliation Against Pastor Max Villatoro and His Loved Ones; Community Demands Answers

After a week-longnationwide mobilization against the arrest of local Mennonite Pastor Max Villatoro, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to be unmoved by the intensifying pressure from the community.  In fact, tonight, ICE has readied itself to rip Pastor Max away from his loved ones–perhaps permanently–deporting him back to Honduras and away from the country he calls home.

Earlier today, Pastor Max’s family and the Iowa community were outraged to learn that he had been moved to a series of different detention cities without warning and without explanation.  Currently, Pastor Max is being held at a detention facility in Alexandria, LA, but he could be on a plane back to Honduras at any moment.

According to testimony from Pastor Max’s wife, Gloria, who spoke to her husband earlier today, ICE officials were aggravated over the growing community support in Pastor Max’s favor and appeared to be hastening is deportation as a potential retaliatory measure.

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.

Read more about Pastor Max’s story in the Des Moines Register (here and  here), The Press Citizen, and KCRG-TV.

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