MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa -- "This is my community," said David Suarez at a rally held Thursday Afternoon/Early Evening in front of the Henry County Courthouse in Mount Pleasant. In signs and speeches, protesters expressed their opposition to the ICE raid that they say is ripping families apart. Suarez personally knows the men who were detained and their families, and showed up to the rally to show support for them. Suarez came to America from Ecuador in 2006. Next week he'll become a United States Citizen. Suarez is now a local Bilingual Community Development Manager at Community 1st Credit Union and he calls what happened yesterday in the community he now calls home devastating.
"It was a really sad experience," said Suarez. "We started receiving a lot of messages from the families affected by the raid. We can feel the confusion and the scare in the air, between these families."
For one year George Gaylord worked alongside the men who have now been detained by ICE, at the Midwest Precast Concrete Plant. Gaylord is extremely upset about the arrest of his former co-workers, men he calls friends, and he showed up to this rally in front of the county courthouse protesting the raid to show his support for the families that have been affected.
"It's not like they`re making lots of money or anything like that," said Gaylord. "I mean, whoever told on them, they ruined families. They hurt people. They hurt children. They hurt wives, mothers, you know, this is a horrible separation."
Tammy Shull is the leader of the Iowa WINS group, which stands for: Iowa Welcomes Immigrant Neighbors. This is her answer to those who say if you are in this country illegally, you`ve broken the law, and must face the consequences:
"We don`t know the answer on all of these people," said Shull. "They were rounded up in a group, so we don't really know what the story is on each of them individually. I also think that many people don`t understand that it is impossible in many cases for people to immigrate legally and they are making a choice for their families and their children for a better future, and you know, many of us would do the same if we were in their shoes."