MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (KCRG) - Rumors and fears of immigration raids have been more common in Marshalltown since the tornado hit in July. Mayor Joel Greer believes there are more people in his town who are not there legally.
Greer wants Congress and President Trump to help them stay in the country because without them Marshalltown might not recover as quickly.
"We're getting the work done faster because we have the people here to help," said Greer.
Many of those people are immigrants and some the mayor admits are likely in the country illegally.
"I challenge you to find crews that don't have people that came from Mexico or other countries," said Greer.
Immigrants have been coming to Marshalltown for years to work in the factories. Now, all the construction needs after the disaster have caused even more laborers to arrive. At St. Mary's Catholic Church, where about 75 percent of parishioners are Hispanic, church leaders hear a common concern.
"He said, 'where I work they're going to start using the e-verify program so that makes him very nervous because he has family that he has to take care of," said Sister Christine Feagan.
The church said it's meeting the needs of the people, regardless of legal status.
Sister Christine Feagan helps people fill out immigration forms, DACA applications and other paperwork. She says the undercurrent of fear is constant.
"These people have bought houses, they've been very faithful to their jobs and they've been good community members and they have to live with that black cloud over them," said Feagan.
Ana Hernandez remembers when immigration agents raided the Swift meat processing plant in 2006.
"I know that they're scared and that any day can be their last day that they get to see their families," said Hernandez.
While President Trump pushes for stricter immigration laws, Mayor Greer said an ICE raid would devastate his town further.
"I'm pretty anti-raid," said Greer.
The population of Marshalltown is about 27,000 people and according to the census, 15 percent of the people there are not citizens. Compare that to a similarly sized Burlington, where two percent of the town aren't citizens.