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Eastern Iowa Man Organizing Efforts to Bring 100 Refugee Children to Dubuque

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - A Dubuque man wants to bring 100 refugee children to the town. Ken Bichell hopes to create a coalition to figure out how to bring those children to the community.

He says itís the communityís responsibility to care for the children, because the situation in Central America is partially the United Statesí fault.

ďI feel like itís the right thing to do, because I think we are in large part responsible for the problem. Itís our countryís problem. Itís our countryís appetite for illegal drugs thatís created these barons. The cartels that are having wars and putting children in harmís way,ď Bichell said.

Bichellís opinions on the situation along the southern U.S border are motivating him to take action.

ďItís the image on TV of the kids in cages, and there are reports of sexual abuse, and kids drinking toilet water because they werenít getting the water they needed in the desert,Ē said Bichell.

But critics suggest bringing refugee children to Dubuque would be taxing the cityís social services system. Some say the children would bring along contagious diseases.

ďThatís normal hysteria of the unknown. Iíve traveled a lot in Latin America. I have never met disease ridden kids or dangerous kids. They are just kids,Ē he said.

Bichell adopted his now 12-year-old daughter when she was just a baby. His wife and he now hope to open their home to foster a refugee child.

ďFor Dubuque to be on the list of towns that are saying ĎYes, we want the kidsí portrays us in a very good light,Ē said Bichell.

TV9 did check in with the City of Dubuque to see if city leaders would be for efforts to bring 100 refugee children to town.

Dubuque Public Information Officer Randy Gehl said it is premature for the city to make a comment until they know more about Bichellís plan.

l Comments: (563) 583-9999;

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