I would like to ask your readers to consider themselves as Latinos for just one day on Saturday, June 15. That is when people from across Iowa will gather in Des Moines to take a short walk in support of Iowa's Latino/Latina community. The walk, called the "Walk for Immigration Reform Now," will start at 1 p.m. in the Des Moines Latino Business Corridor near E. 16th St. & E. Grand Ave and end at SE Ninth St. & Scott Avenue.
Unfortunately, Iowa is developing a national image problem by being home to one of the most vociferous and visible anti-immigrant politicians in the nation. And last week, Congressman Steve King, 4th District of Iowa, did it again!
He set the image of Iowa as an anti-Latino state by proposing and passing an amendment to a bill in the U.S. House. The amendment was so horrible that, according to the U.S. House Hispanic Caucus, it treats "DREAMers and undocumented spouses of service members in the same way as violent criminals."
'DREAMers' is a term used to define adults who were brought to the United States as children by their parents, but do not have immigration papers. Many have graduated from Iowa high schools and have even attended Iowa colleges. But, Steve King's amendment would actually place these individuals on the same priority level for deportation as criminals.
I can still remember how upset I felt at Rep. King when I discovered, in 2009, that he worked to kill the opportunity for overseas nationality spouses of U.S. soldiers killed in action to come to the United States as permanent residents. To me, it seemed the ultimate slap in the face for someone who had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This is a second, unpatriotic slap from a person who has neither felt the sting of battle nor volunteered for service.
Iowans need to let America know that we welcome Latinos in Iowa. We do not need Iowa to become known as the state that hid the welcome mat.