Concern for migrant children

Today all Iowa mourns the death of Gov. Robert D. Ray, the incomparable humanitarian leader who welcomed and resettled thousands of Asian refugees and asylum seekers to Iowa in the 1970s. Contrast Ray’s stunning demonstration of the historic American ideals of democracy, humanity and equality with today’s heartless reality: 2,000 to 3,000 immigrant children separated from their parents in mass detention centers at the southern border. For those with compassion in their hearts for the plight of children in the world, these frightened and traumatized children are a prime example of how broken our immigration system is and how imperative it is for Congress to act and create new immigration law, policy and procedures.

Now is the time for humane immigration reform that will seriously alter the treatment of the immigrants in this land. Congress must find a clarified path to legalization, not keep “Dreamers” in limbo, protect families and the rights of workers, reform inhumane detention and deportation processes and make the visa system more efficient.

The attitudes surrounding immigrants in this country have resulted in the detention of immigrants being one of the fastest growing in a lucrative prison industry. This along with the intricate and constantly changing immigration laws and regulations has resulted in a great need for legal assistance for all Immigrants. I am very pleased that we now have a Justice for Our Neighbors legal clinic here in Marshalltown.

Justice for Our Neighbors seeks to care for the plight of immigrants and their many legal concerns. Our monthly clinic here in Marshalltown provides free professional legal services to immigrants. It is also a place of hospitality and caring concern for our new neighbors. If you are interested in finding out more about this work, volunteering or contributing please visit the Iowa JFON website: www.iowajfon.org 

Another good source of information and participation in this critical issue of the day is Immigrant Allies. This local organization helps build community, provides up-to-date information and ways to be involved with immigration concerns. They can be found at: www.immigrantallies.net 

When I see pictures of migrant children being held at our border, separated from parents, my heart breaks. I hope yours does, too. Something must be done. Now is the time.

Families belong together.