DES MOINES, IOWA (April 11, 2019) — Wednesday morning at the state capitol, a broad coalition including workers, elected officials, business, faith, law-enforcement, civil-rights, and community-groups gathered to tell Congress: “Time to do the right thing.”

House Resolution 18, introduced recently at the Iowa Statehouse, urges Congress to take steps to update the country’s immigration laws by supporting the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (HR6).

The purpose of the gathering was to raise awareness of the issue and urge Representatives Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer to join Rep Dave Loebsack in signing on as co-sponsors of the federal bill.

HR6, the federal bill, would grant permanent protections to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Various speakers shared their perspective and reasons for supporting people who have DACA and TPS status by explaining what they bring to the state.

Police Chief Mark Prosser of Storm Lake spoke about the vibrancy, workforce, and “incredible value” that immigrants, DACA, and TPS recipients bring to his community. Prosser cited examples of volunteer fire-fighters and people who have “stepped out of the shadows, and we believe they should be supported.” He called on “reasonable leaders to come to the middle and start creating good immigration-reform.”

Community members and businesses also stressed the importance and urgency of providing solutions. Cecilia Martinez, a staffer at the Iowa State Capitol, noted that “Congress has had time to pass legislation to solve the problem that Trump created when he rescinded DACA.” Monarch Building Materials from Dallas County noted, “We need a permanent solution for employees who are integral parts of our team and have deep roots going back decades in our community.”

The broad coalition of groups highlights that communities are facing serious threats and that Congress needs to come together, despite the politics of the issue, to find permanent solutions and a path forward. For Iowa’s elected officials, silence on immigration issues is a strategy, but it’s not necessarily a good one. Polls show that Iowa voters agree, with 81% of Iowans supporting a permanent path to citizenship for young immigrants known as DREAMers.

“Iowans want to see our elected officials support policies that match up with the things they promised during their campaigns,” said Erica Johnson, who directs the Immigrant Rights Program for the American Friends Service Committee in Iowa. “Iowans want commonsense, humane solutions to the crises created by the Trump administration.

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