Asylum-seekers call on Congressman Loebsack to stop ICE in Iowa, support refugees

Published: Aug. 30, 2019 at 9:11 PM CDT
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Growing safety concerns for refugee families in Eastern Iowa was the topic of discussion in a meeting between families and Rep. Dave Loebsack. The Congressman visited the Catholic Worker House in Iowa City Friday.

"We have family separation. We have ICE patrolling our communities," said Emily Sinnwell with the Catholic Worker House in a press conference after the meeting.

No cameras were allowed in the meeting, but activists like Elizabeth Bernal spoke after. She specifically spoke about the recent sighting and arrests she says have been made by ICE in Iowa City.

"We want to be living in a safe and peaceful place. Iowa city is a safe place, so let's show them it's a safe place for everyone," she said.

She says in the past week, she has heard rumors about ICE surveillance, but has also seen it for herself.

"It started Monday that we got people stopped by an immigration officer by Lakeridge and Riverside Drive," she added. "They don't have any reason for the stop. They say they are police but they are not actually police. It's an ICE officer."

TV9 reached out to Iowa City Police, who said "They have received questions about rumors people have heard, but have not been informed by the Federal Government about any activity in the area."

In addition to calling on the Congressman to help in the individual refugee cases he heard at the meeting, supporter also demanded he condemn the recent arrests locally and around the Country. Also, they asked he ask Rockwell Collins to disclose all information it's military-grade contracts with Border Patrol.

At the meeting, Loebsack said he would look into it.

"he heard our message loud and clear, and we're going to continue to lift up a world that is more just," said David Goodner, a community member with the Worker House.

He said Friday's meeting was a good first step.

In a statement to TV9, Loebsack said, " I was very happy to meet with the families. It is clear that we have to treat everyone humanely and end the operations that create fear in the migrant communities. My office will continue to work with these families to assist them with any issues dealing with the federal government, that we are legally and ethically able to do."

Next month, the organization will be taking their message to the national level at the People's Presidential Forum in Des Moines on September 21st. There, they will share their stories and ask our presidential candidates questions.

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