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

By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV9

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 it’s the community’s responsibility to care for the children, because the situation in Central America is partially the United States’ fault.

“I feel like it’s the right thing to do, because I think we are in large part responsible for the problem. It’s our country’s problem. It’s our country’s appetite for illegal drugs that’s created these barons. The cartels that are having wars and putting children in harm’s way,“ Bichell said.

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

“It’s the image on TV of the kids in cages, and there are reports of sexual abuse, and kids drinking toilet water because they weren’t getting the water they needed in the desert,” said Bichell.

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

“That’s normal hysteria of the unknown. I’ve traveled a lot in Latin America. I have never met disease ridden kids or dangerous kids. They are just kids,” 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.

“For Dubuque to be on the list of towns that are saying ‘Yes, we want the kids’ portrays us in a very good light,” 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 Bichell’s plan.

l Comments: (563) 583-9999; katie.wiedemann@kcrg.com

facebook twitter email alerts you tube hooplanow