At American Friends Service Committee in Iowa, we talk to fearful families like these all the time. They’ve been in the U.S. for years, working and paying taxes, hoping our government will finally sort out its broken immigration system and give them credit for all of the contributions they make to our society.
This is not right. But I’m ashamed to admit, this is exactly what our government wants: to make it harder and harder for immigrant families to live peacefully and be a part of our communities.
The irony is that the same lawmakers who are most likely to criminalize and demonize immigrants solely for political gain – Grassley, King and Reynolds – are the same ones who depend most on contributions from the industries that rely the most on immigrant labor, especially Big Ag. This is especially true of those lawmakers who claim to be farmers themselves. This is an open secret in Iowa, but it’s one that’s rarely discussed.
Immigrants who do qualify for citizenship or residency already go through a rigorous screening process when they apply for permanent status,, including one that ensures they will not become a “public charge” by relying on public assistance.
That’s why the Trump administration’s new “screen” on immigrants is phony, and so unfair: its only purpose is to stigmatize and disqualify all immigrants who have ever sought any kind of medical or food aid, even temporarily.
Who among us hasn’t needed help at some point in our lives, whether from our extended family, church community, neighbors or social services?
As a child growing up in small-town Iowa, my family had to ask for help more than once. We were grateful to receive it, and it’s part of what made me feel this state was a great place to live. And that’s why I work hard to ensure that other families who need help today get what they need, too. This is the kind of generosity of spirit that Iowa is known for, and should always be known for. We shouldn’t let fearful, small-minded folks define us any other way.
We’re gearing up to fight back against Trump and his minions and we need your help to do so. Can you donate $20.18 Today to help us push back against changing the “public charge” rule and against these racist ideas? If you’ve already donated in the past, you can use the express donate links below to make your donation immediately.
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