People come together to learn how to "Keep ICE out of Iowa"

Published: Jun. 20, 2018 at 9:41 PM CDT
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Tonight in Iowa City, people gathered to talk about immigration. Specifically, what people who are in the U.S. illegally should do if federal authorities arrest them.

The Center for Worker Justice room was packed with people, many of them were not immigrants. But the focus of the meeting was to give advice if a raid or immigration sweep happens in Iowa City.

Salvador Cervantes says it wasn't easy becoming a United States citizen.

"I have two kids that I also brought undocumented," said Cervantes. "I'm not a bad person. I'm looking for the well-being of my family."

He became a citizen 1996. His homeland of Mexico wasn't safe for his family and came to the U.S. seeking asylum.

"Today I came to say, this land is for all of us."

Many in this room wanted to show solidarity to immigrants, including those in the country illegally.

"I'm a member of the national guard and the most recent stuff that has happened out of the border is not the reason why I joined the military."

The event Wednesday was called "Keeping ICE out of Iowa," but the speakers mostly talked about what to do if ICE does show up at people's home or work. Advice like: don't talk to police without a lawyer, don't sign anything and don't answer the door if someone suspicious knocks.

"We are breaking the law coming into this country without documents but we are not breaking the law because we want to do family to this country. We just want the well-being for our family," said Cervantes.

A similar presentation will also be held Thursday in Des Moines.

The issue of illegal immigration inspires a wide range of opinions. TV-9 reached out to the other side, people who support the president's stance on illegal immigration.

The University of Iowa College Republicans chairman told TV-9 local communities should be working with immigration enforcement agencies, not against them. He also said the current immigration policies in the United States need to change.

"It takes forever for the people who want to come here legally to go through that process and gain legal status in this country," said University of Iowa College Republicans Chairman Kyle Apple. "We need to streamline that process. I'm not sure what that looks like, whether it's more officials that can work in that area, whether it's more judges to hear these cases, but we need to streamline that process and gain work permits, work visas and permanent status in the United States.

Apple also said more agents are necessary to maintain safety at the border.