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Omaha pastor helping immigrant families in O'Neill

Posted at 10:57 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 23:57:45-04

Last week, immigration agents arrested 133 undocumented workers in O'Neill, Nebraska

Prosecutors charged 15 others with running an illegal employment ring. As a result, an Omaha congregation is putting together a plan to help the families deal with the legal system and what might lie ahead. 

Pastor Juan Carlos Veloso from the Grace United Methodist Church is raising funds and collecting toiletries donations for the next few weeks to take to the families impacted by the ICE operations at three businesses. 

After visiting O'Neill last week, Veloso said many families continue living at a local church

"They've moved the chairs. Right from the middle of the church, going back, people have all these blankets in the church and people, especially children are sleeping on the first floor. There is a basement and more people are sleeping there too," said Veloso. 

He added many families have told him and others helping their relatives who are detained are not receiving their medications. 

"We were able to collect at least 12 to 15 names of people who were on medication, from diabetics to heart problems you name it. They weren't being given their medication," said Veloso.

His church will be collecting donations starting on Monday at the church located at 2418 E St. from 5-7 p.m.

"It is amazing to be there and have the feeling of people looking at you through the windows and some trusting you, and some not trusting you and also, these people who were suffering so badly. Being there was very powerful for me. I'll never forget that," said Veloso.

Veloso added he is afraid impacted families will continue to live in fear.

"These people are still in a state of panic. They don't want to leave the church. They are scared that ICE is going to come back for them," said Veloso.