Idaho Dairymen give thousands to immigration services group

The Community Council of Idaho received $60,000.
Posted at 7:44 PM, Nov 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-30 21:44:14-05

Before Brandy Perez was an immigration attorney for Community Council of Idaho, she first worked in law enforcement as a parole officer.

"Part of what I had to do was make them get a job-- become productive members of society-- and they often wouldn't do the work that was available," said Perez.

What she saw-- might surprise you.

"Where I lived there were a lot of chicken factories-- and it's hard, smelly work. And they would rather go back to prison then go back to the chicken factory. But then there were a lot of immigrants that-- they went and worked in the chicken factories, because it was work, and no matter how hard it was and how many hours they had to work-- they would do it so they could feed their families," she said.

This-- she says-- just one of the reasons she decided to pursue a career in immigration law, keeping migrant families together that face threats of deportation.

"I just saw that there was a need for passionate immigration attorneys-- people who really cared about their clients and the Latinos in the community."

But Perez is not the only one who cares. This month the Idaho Dairymen's Association donated $60,000 to the Community Council of Idaho to assist their services, which include housing, workforce preparation, and health services.

"About 40 percent of their workforce are immigrants," said Perez.

"We're at a point in time where I think many in our immigrant community feel unwelcome, and I want them to know they are warmly embraced by the dairy community, and that they are a critical part of the industry and we wouldn't be successful without them," said Rick Naerebout, IDA's CEO.

"I'm extremely grateful that we were able to get this donation because there is no federal funding," said Irma Morin, CEO of the Community Council of Idaho.

Raquel Reyes said she recognizes the unlikeliness of the groups' pairing on a political level, but she says that's not what it's about.

"Didn't come into play at all and I really appreciated that. It wasn't even political, it was just about taking care of the families," said Reyes.