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.
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 [...]