MOUNT PLEASANT — Since the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on the Midwest Precast Concrete facility in Mount Pleasant a week ago, the Mount Pleasant community has rallied together.
The Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project has raised almost $50,000 in donations from locals to help immigrant families pay the bonds to get their loved ones home. Twenty-seven of the at-least 32 men arrested and detained have lawyers, and nine are in the process of being assigned a pro-bono or low-cost lawyer. Vigils have been held around the state, in cities including Cedar Rapids and Davenport.
But there is still much to do, said Tammy Shull, a leader of the Iowa WINS (welcomes its immigrant neighbors) organization.
“If we all continue to stay united and support each other it will be a lot easier for the families to get through this terrible time,” said Ronald Carrillo.
How can you help?
Donate money. It helps immigrant families pay bonds for their detained family members and transportation costs to Omaha, Nebraska to pay the bonds. It helps mothers and children still at home pay rent and utility bills. It helps keep households running when the men who were detained return but can not go back to work for some time.
Donate items. Including baby formula, diapers, gas cards, non-perishable foods, toiletries and laundry soap.
Drive. Many families need assistance with transportation to visit detained family members or pay bonds. They may need help driving around town, or getting their children to school.
Support students. Helping out in the school system to keep children of immigrant families safely in class.
Help to collect and distribute the donated money and goods.
Sign up to coordinate volunteers to assigned tasks.
Join the financial oversight team to ensure all cash donations are distributed properly.
Offer to speak to the media about ongoing needs and personal stories.
Help the social media group spread awareness.
Contact your legislators and governmental officials with letters, postcards and phone calls.
Plan events, such as the July 14 and 15 event with the consulate of Guatemala to help immigrants get needed papers.
Offer counseling services for those traumatized by the recent experiences of the ICE raid.
Offer law expertise or lawyer assistance to those who are still in need.
Spend time at the First Presbyterian Church to greet people and help direct them.
Join the oversight leadership team.
Those interested can sign up to help in any of these areas by contacting the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Pleasant. The church will also host an event from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday for immigrant families to talk about their legal rights, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday to distribute food donations.