Opinions Differ Over Mount Pleasant Raid, Employer Could Face Stiff Penalties

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa — On Wednesday, 32 employees of a Mount Pleasant concrete company were arrested by immigration officers for alleged immigration violations.

The workers potentially face deportation, and the penalties for their employer could be very severe.

For some community members, seeing the results of the ICE raid on Midwest Precast Concrete was utterly heartbreaking.

“Just seeing these young mothers, these children, who are in complete turmoil. They don’t know where their fathers and husbands are, they haven’t been in contact with them, they don’t know what’s going to happen next, they don’t know how they’re going to get food on the table the next day” said Sam Riebe.

Riebe is a member of Iowa WINS, a welcoming group for immigrants in the Mount Pleasant community. He says he knows the community will be divided over this, and he’s right. People like Ernie French are praising the raid.

They take everybody’s jobs away, and I’m glad they took them away (referencing the immigrants) that way other people, Americans, can get that job…If they don’t speak English, send them back to where they came from” said French.

Riebe hopes those who aren’t sympathetic to people who were arrested will show compassion to their families.

“We understand there are laws, we understand we need to be a nation of laws. We are putting that topic to the side just for right now, because right now what is most important to us are these innocent kids, and families here; especially the kids who were not here by anything that they’ve done” said Riebe.

The employer in this case, MPC. could face big penalties.  According to U.S. code, it’s against the law for companies to knowingly hire illegal immigrants.  Hiring them could mean up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says at this point no charges have been filed.