FOREST CITY, Iowa – Congressman Steve King was in our area on Wednesday as part of his town hall tour to discuss topics such as immigration reform.
In Forest City, the congressman takes time to explain a new bill which he has co-authored alongside US Rep. Michelle Bachman (R) Minnesota.
The bill would give Central American undocumented immigrants the same legal status as Mexican undocumented immigrants.
Therefore, making the process of deportation out of the United States much faster.
Currently, Mexican undocumented children who are caught crossing the border are returned almost immediately.
Back in 2008, a bipartisan anti-trafficking bill made it so minors from Central America were not deported immediately. First, the children would be given court hearings while in the meantime, staying with sponsors across the country.
The bill would also look to take funding from the consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act. Through this act, those who made it into the country as children and fit specific guidelines, will have any action against them deferred for two years.
During which they can apply for work authorization, although the act does not provide them with legal status.
Anne Bakke is a resident of Forest City and granddaughter of a former “DREAMer”.
Her grandfather never spoke English, but fought in the both World Wars and was wounded storming the beaches of Normandy.
With her family’s background, Bakke says she was very interested to see how the town would react to Congressman Steve King’s comments.
“All the relatives that stayed, have spread out over the United States and have become engineers and gone into medicine or education. So I was really curious about coming to see what he had to say about the DREAMers,” said Bakke.
“The civilians that I talk to say the same thing that the uniformed officers have to say, that you have to send them back. If you don’t send them back, it’s an advertisement for more to come,” said King.
While some in the audience agreed with the policies, others did not.
Saying they go against what Iowan’s truly believe, which Anne says is tolerance.
“I heard a lot of tolerance in the room and I really saw true Iowans in the room, because we have a real rich history of being very tolerant,” said Bakke.
King goes on to say he stands by the current policies, but knows there is much to be done to ensure more undocumented children do not make it into the country.
“We need to decide who we are going to allow in to the United States, and under what criteria. Right now we have laws, and I stand with them,” said King.
Congressman King is up for re-election this year and says he hopes to continue to bring attention to the immigration issue, which has already made its way to the Iowa border.
Back in late July, federal officials confirmed that at least 139 unaccompanied immigrant children have been sent to the state since Jan. 1.