Iowa community rallies to help families after raids

By Dave Cushing, Catholic News Service

WATERLOO, Iowa -- As the people arrested in a May 12 immigration raid in Iowa were processed and sent off to prison or deported, church leaders, pastoral ministers and community organizers in northeast Iowa struggled with what they called the tragic and devastating effects of the enforcement action.

After nearly 400 people were arrested at Agriprocessors, a meat processing plant in Postville, the faith community responded the following Sunday with a prayer service, a conference on how the community could help affected families, and a march to the cattle fairgrounds where the arrested workers were held initially.

Fr. Jose Comparan, pastoral administrator of Queen of Peace Catholic Church and director of Hispanic ministry in Waterloo, said the events were intended to create awareness of what was happening and how people are being affected.