Immigration and Refugees

///Immigration and Refugees

Click here for a one-pager on Catholic principles related to migration

Click here for a document related to screening of refugees

At the state level, the Iowa Catholic Conference supports the basic human rights of documented and undocumented immigrants and refugees. This includes fair treatment under the law for all workers including legal representation during deportation proceedings, a just living wage, fair labor practices, safe working conditions, and humane treatment of children and families. We also support legislation allowing undocumented high school graduates who are residents of Iowa to be eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities in the state of Iowa.

We oppose efforts to make state and local police responsible for the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Many immigrants have been forced to leave their homes and countries in order to provide even for the most basic needs of themselves and their families. The desperation of their circumstances does not correspond to the inordinate length of time (sometimes over 15 years) required to wait in line for the present system to process a visa request.

Regarding federal legislation, we believe that those already here, for the sake of family unity and being humane, should receive special consideration that would include eventual citizenship. We support measures that help secure our border but respect human rights and human life. We need a system that is humane for workers and fair to employers.

While Catholics may disagree within the limits of justice on the specific approach to reforming the immigration system, we must agree as a people of faith to live out the scriptural commandment to “welcome the stranger” and defend the God-given dignity of every person.

We urge all Iowans to remember their history as immigrants as we work together towards a fair and compassionate resolution of this problem.

The ICC supports increased assistance for refugees.

Refugees are present in the U.S. legally. They are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and who meet the United Nations’ criteria of having a “well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

As you can imagine, refugees’ initial needs are many: food, clothing, shelter, employment, English language training, and orientation to a new community and culture. In the first 90 days, the U.S. government provides transitional assistance.

Catholic organizations around the country resettle about 30 percent of the refugees who enter our country every year. Catholic Charities here in Iowa will most likely resettle about 250 people this year.

107, 2020

Contact the U.S. Senate in support of ‘Dreamers’

Downloadable one-pager on DACA Downloadable one-pager on DACA (español) Action alert is at A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2020 prevented the Administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [...]

1511, 2019

Contact your senators now in support of ‘Dreamers’

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Nov. 12, 2019 on the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A decision is expected to be announced by the Supreme Court in June [...]

1601, 2019

Church supports a just and humane reform of our immigration system

The Iowa Catholic Conference supports the reform of our immigration system in a just and humane way. We believe that persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland, in addition to a right [...]

2304, 2018

Understanding and responding to “anti-sanctuary city” legislation

With the passage of Senate File 481, the state of Iowa has changed the relationship of local law enforcement with the Immigration Control Enforcement agency. The bishops of Iowa opposed the legislation, known as the [...]

804, 2018

Bishops ask for veto of immigration enforcement legislation – Senate File 481

We, the Catholic Bishops of Iowa, have voiced principled opposition to Senate File 481 and are profoundly disappointed that it was passed by the Legislature. We ask Governor Reynolds to do the right thing and veto [...]

801, 2018

ICC Youtube video on immigration policy issues

With the help of the Diocese of Des Moines, the Iowa Catholic Conference has produced a short video about current federal and state immigration policy issues and what you can do to help. Take a [...]

109, 2017

Iowa bishops support DACA youth – Sept. 1, 2017

The Catholic bishops of Iowa have contacted Iowa’s congressional delegation in support of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) youth and the Dream Act of 2017. You are encouraged to contact our members of Congress on [...]

704, 2016

ICC supports RefugeeRISE bill

(Update: $300,000 in funding for RefugeeRISE made it into the state budget!) The Iowa Catholic Conference supports SF 2298, a bill to support Iowa workforce needs and provide job readiness skills to refugees in Iowa. [...]

1711, 2015

Statement on Syrian refugees – November 2015

Nov. 17, 2015 The recent movement of 27 governors in the United States to apparently oppose entrance to Syrian refugees to their respective states (CNN, 11/16/2015) revives an embarrassing experience in our country’s history. During [...]

2606, 2014

Iowa bishops’ statement on humanitarian situation at the border – June 2014

A November 2013 report from the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee on Migration alerted us to the ongoing increase in migration of unaccompanied children across the border. More than 52,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S.-Mexico [...]

606, 2014

Immigration reform call-in days

Here's some new information regarding upcoming Justice for Immigrants national call-in days. Next Wednesday, June 11th is a “Leadership Call-in Day” that will send calls to the House offices of Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Majority [...]

1305, 2014

Immigration and Refugees

A bill to set up a pilot program in Iowa to assist refugees, Senate File 2270, has been sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. The bill would allocate about $2.2 million to help [...]