Pastor Max Villatoro supporters keep the home fires burning
First anniversary of deportation is only days away
by Lynda Waddington
Many things have been taken away from a deported Iowa City pastor during the past year, but he still has his friends.
Max Villatoro, a Mennonite pastor, was forced onto a plane March 20, 2015, and flown to Honduras. It was the first time in more than 20 years that he had set foot in the country where he was born.
Left behind were his wife and their four children, the Iowa City religious congregation the couple had established and a host of loyal friends.
“Max was a friend to many people and a minister of the gospel. His absence weakens his community, his family and his church,” said Roger Farmer of Washington, a member of the group aptly named Friends of Pastor Max. “I want to do whatever I can to help him return, and also to protect others in similar situations.”
The simple sentiment is indicative of the scarlet thread of truth woven throughout a year of advocacy that shows no sign of slowing. Read the full story here
Iowa City pastor deported to Honduras
Church World Service
After Pastor Max's Deportation, DHS Must Offer Humanitarian Parole
The Washington Times
Iowa Mennonite pastor faces deportation in first big test case for Obama amnesty
Today on "Mickelson in the Morning" with WHO Radio (Des Moines), David is interviewed by Jan Mickelson. They speak on Max's story, faith and immigration. Listen to the interview here.
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, who represents southeast Iowa, has asked the federal government to reconsider the deportation of an Iowa City pastor. Read more at KCRG.com
In the Darkness of Night, ICE Accelerates Plans to Deport Beloved Iowa Pastor and Father of Four U.S. Citizen Children
After Series of Arbitrary Transfers to Multiple Detention Centers, ICE Seeks Apparent Retaliation Against Pastor Max Villatoro and His Loved Ones; Community Demands Answers
Iowa City, Iowa – After a week-long, nationwide mobilization against the arrest of local Mennonite Pastor Max Villatoro, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to be unmoved by the intensifying pressure from the community. In fact, tonight, ICE has readied itself to rip Pastor Max away from his loved ones--perhaps permanently--deporting him back to Honduras and away from the country he calls home.
Earlier today, Pastor Max’s family and the Iowa community were outraged to learn that he had been moved to a series of different detention cities without warning and without explanation. Currently, Pastor Max is being held at a detention facility in Alexandria, LA, but he could be on a plane back to Honduras at any moment.
According to testimony from Pastor Max’s wife, Gloria, who spoke to her husband earlier today, ICE officials were aggravated over the growing community support in Pastor Max’s favor and appeared to be hastening is deportation as a potential retaliatory measure.
Originally targeted for deportation because of an immigration identification related charge from 1999, Pastor Max’s deep ties to the community, four U.S. citizen children and current position as a respected pastor of the Iglesia Menonita Torre Fuerte (First Mennonite Church) of Iowa City, Iowa, make clear that he should not be considered a deportation priority, especially in light of the President’s commitment to keeping families together. The fact that he’s being ripped away in such a callous fashion is truly an outrage and stands in strong contradiction to the administration’s “felons, not families” program.
Read more about Pastor Max’s story in the Des Moines Register (here and here), The Press Citizen, and KCRG-TV.
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This Spanish channel did a full report.
Links to the news coverage we've found about Max's story.