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Governor Reynolds trip to the border draws criticism

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 6:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Wednesday, Governor Kim Reynolds joined eight other Republican Governor’s at the U.S.-Mexico border to criticize President Biden’s response to the border crisis.

They laid out 10 policies for the Biden administration to implement, including dedicating resources to stop human and drug trafficking at the border.

The governor’s visit is drawing criticism. Members with the Iowa City Catholic Worker House say Governor Reynolds is politicizing the border issue, and trying to create unnecessary fear in Iowa. The governor says anyone who thinks that, is missing the point of her visit.

On the same day Reynolds spoke at the border, a group of activists with the Iowa City Catholic Worker House accompanied a migrant family to their meeting with ICE.

“We’re very much hoping that they wouldn’t be taken away from us,” said Maureen Vasile, with the Iowa City Catholic Worker House.

The group wants the Governor to fight for migrants living in Iowa, instead of making trips they call politically motivated.

“She is trying to increase fear,” said Ann Houlahan with the Iowa City Catholic Worker House. “Saying that the border is dangerous, saying they’re all dangerous, they’re all rapists, murderers, drug dealers.”

Reynolds argues that people criticizing her visit are ignoring issues at the border.

“Resume the deportation of all convicted criminals,” Reynolds said. “When President Biden took office, first thing he did was to issue an executive order to order ICE to do limited deportations. That is unacceptable, that should have never happened. All convicted illegal criminals need to be deported.”

She wants more transparency out of the Biden administration. The Governor points to an incident this year when at least 19 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Iowa on a layover flight.

“They should notify governors across this country when illegal migrants and unaccompanied children are dropped off in this state,” Reynolds said. “Because we become responsible for them.”

The Iowa City Catholic Worker House hopes the Governor becomes more welcoming to migrants.

“I hope she brings some refugees back with her,” said Jane Noble with the Iowa City Catholic Worker House. “Because we will welcome them.”

On the same day as the Governor’s visit, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst introduced the “Be Gone Act,” which would stop sex offenders from immigrating to the country by vetting people further at the border.

Ernst said there has been a recent spike in instances of forced marriages and sex trafficking - but says she did not have the hard data to back that claim.

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