Churches and community groups in southeastern Iowa are pooling resources to help those affected by last week’s immigration raid in Mount Pleasant.

Thirty-two workers at concrete manufacturer MPC Enterprises were arrested by federal agents. Pastor Trey Hegar, at Mount Pleasant’s First Presbyterian Church, is collecting cash to help the families pay legal bills and everyday expenses.

“In two weeks, they’re going to have a hard time making rent,” Hegar says. “They’re going to have a hard time making utility payments and other type of big payments like insurance, things like that.” Hegar says some of those who were arrested were their families’ primary wage earners. The families are now trying to navigate the legal system, hire lawyers and post bond to get their loved ones out of jail.

It all takes money many of the families don’t have, according to Sonia Reyes, with the State of Iowa’s Office of Latino Affairs. Reyes says, “If you are wanting to help, the best thing you can do is to donate to the fund, so the people who have been detained have a chance to hire an attorney.” Unlike in the criminal justice system, there is no right to a court-appointed lawyer for those facing immigration charges.

(Thanks to Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)