People gathered in a Des Moines church Sunday for a service organized to pray for the illegal immigrants rounded up in last week’s raid at the Swift meatpacking plant in Marshalltown. Few in the crowd have had contact with the detainees or the families they left behind. Armando Villareal is director of the Iowa division of Latino Affairs.
“It’s like taking inventory after a disaster,” Villareal says. “Who’s been hurt the most? Who’s lost the breadwinner?” Some people in the crowd, like Marina Caeiro, said they have briefly spoken to the detained immigrants.
“They’re praying. They are worried,” Caeiro says. “They don’t know what’s going to happen with their children.” The bilingual service ended with the congregation lighting candles and singing “Silent Night.”