IA Latinos to Governor: Don’t Play Politics With Immigration | New
(Des Moines) – Debate continues over the gravity of the situation for migrants on the US-Mexico border, and advocates for Iowa Latinos say Gov. Kim Reynolds is not helping his recent actions.
Last week, Reynolds announced she sends Iowa State Patrol officers to the border to help with security.
Joe Henry, political director of the Iowa League of United Latin American Citizens, said this was part of a larger effort to ignore the needs and contributions of the nearly 200,000 immigrants to Hawkeye State.
Instead, Henry said he believed his approach was meant to grab headlines rather than engage in useful political issues.
“This governor, and others in the Midwest, used immigration and the Latino community as a political pinata to get votes,” Henry said. “And we are fed up with it.”
Henry also criticized Reynolds for his refusal in April to house migrant children. He said the explanation that Iowa was under-resourced flies in the face of last week’s announcement, in that the state is assigning taxpayer-funded agents.
Reynolds says she is responding to requests from other Republican governors on the border. She sees the situation as a threat to public security that affects all states.
Groups opposing the action say the governor’s rhetoric does not accurately reflect what is happening right now.
As the border recently saw a 20-year record of undocumented immigrant crossings, Henry pointed out data showing that the number of children in patrol facilities has decreased by 5,000 in the past two months. He warned that disinformation encourages some people to spread more hate.
“It will cause more harm and pain to our community,” said Henry. “While at the same time, our community plays a key role in the economies of many cities, many communities, across the state of Iowa.”
Her group fears a return to high-profile incidents – like that of 2019, when an Iowa woman ran over a 14-year-old Latina girl with her car.
Henry added that most people arriving at the border were fleeing violence in places like Guatemala and Honduras, and policymakers needed to focus on comprehensive immigration reform to improve the system and help these people.