In order to address reports and fear of escalating persecution of immigrant families across the country, a group of volunteers known as La Resistencia created a hotline for reporting activity of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This statewide hotline, a tool for Iowa immigrant families and allies to use to respond to needs created by ICE persecution, was created in February of 2017. The line is now staffed by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Iowa and supported by immigrant rights organizations, community volunteers and allies. The following list of statistics and patterns reflect the reports received via the hotline, not the total number of arrests by ICE in Iowa.

  • 64 families reported surveillance, persecution, detention and deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
  • ICE agents are arresting long-term and recent Iowa residents, people who have lived in Iowa for 6 months to 15 years.
  • At least 67 Iowa children ages 3 months to 17 years, including U.S. Citizens, have had their parent taken from them by ICE (usually their fathers).
  • 2 beneficiaries of the Differed Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) with no criminal record have been detained by ICE in the Des Moines area.
  • ICE is avoiding public attention by targeting individuals at their homes or driving on their way to work rather than conducting large-scale worksite raids.
    • 36% of arrests have taken place as people have been driving. Individuals are stopped and asked, “is this your vehicle”? Surveillance by ICE through car registrations may be occurring.
    • 81% reported that ICE arrests took place in the early morning while people were on their way to work. Individuals were stopped at gas stations when they stopped for coffee, taken as they waited for their cars to warm up on cold winter mornings and as they parked their cars upon arrival to their jobs.
    • ICE arrests a few people per day when they are conducting their “operations”.
  • Racial profiling & discrimination:
    • ICE agents identify an individual to target and question anyone in the vicinity who they think might be an immigrant asking Latinos if they “have papers”. These “collateral Arrests” have made up: 30% of total people detained.
    • ICE has targeted 5 Mexican restaurants in central Iowa.
  • Misrepresentation: ICE agents fail to identify themselves to individuals or mis-represent themselves as “Police” by wearing vests labeled “Police ICE” where the word “ICE” has been blacked out.
  • ICE is targeting people who are already in the immigration system, some who re-entered the country after being detained, often to rejoin their families.
  • No access to legal help and lack of due process.
    • Parents without legal representation who are seeking asylum are detained during, what used to be, routine ICE check-ins.
    • Parents seeking asylum are given ankle monitors are living under house arrest and dependent on charity for survival.  Iowa ICE Rapid Response Hotline has helped build or provided technical assistance to four communities across the state to build “Community Response Teams”. These structures seek to assist families who are victims of ICE persecution by identifying and connecting resources in advance of an incidence of family disaster caused by ICE arrest. In central Iowa, donors have contributed $2,485 to assist families that have been affected.    Hotline staff and volunteers plan to continue to offer the tool as a resource to the immigrant community in Iowa for the foreseeable future, until ICE ends it’s abusive practices. Advocates for immigrants’ rights are also tracking patterns of abuse in order to hold ICE accountable for operations and contracts in Iowa.  For more information or to donate to help families and get involved email


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