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With Deportation Imminent, Iowa Community Unites to Deliver Nearly 25,000 Petitions in Support of Local Pastor

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In the Wake of Deportation Order, Iowa City Pastor Max Villatoro and Father of Four Receives Outpouring of Public Support 

After learning that Max Villatoro, a local Mennonite Pastor and father of four U.S. citizen children, was being targeted for deportation, the local Iowa community didn’t hesitate to respond.

On Friday, over 100 supporters turned out to rally outside the detention center where he is being held, and tomorrow, Tuesday, March 10th, supporters will turn out once again to deliver nearly 25,000 petitions the Omaha Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office and call for Pastor Max’s immediate release.  Starting early in the morning at Pastor Max’s church in Iowa City, organizers will embark on a four hour drive to hand deliver every last petition.  At 11am CT, they’ll make a key stop at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Des Moines where they will hold a press conference about their journey.

ICE arrived without warning at Pastor Max’s home a 6:30am on March 3rd. Whisking him away in handcuffs, the officers didn’t give him a chance to say goodbye to his wife and his four U.S. citizen children—Anthony, Etna, Angela, and Aileen.  He was originally targeted for deportation because of an immigration identification related charge from 1999, but his deep ties to the community 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.

Read more about Pastor Max’s story in the Associated PressIowa City Press Citizen (here and here), The MennoniteKCRG-TV, and KGAN-TV.

WHAT:           With Deportation Imminent, Iowa City Community Unites to Deliver Nearly 25,000 Petitions in Support of Local Pastor

WHEN:            Tuesday, March 10th at 11am CT

WHERE:          Trinity United Methodist Church1548 8th St, Des Moines, IA 50314

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