Iowa Migrant Movement For Justice Holds Capitol Rally

Des Moines, Iowa — Leaders of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice are lobbying against bills Republicans have introduced in the Iowa legislature. Vanessa Marcano-Kelly led a rally at the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday.

One bill would require all Iowa companies to use the federal government’s E-Verify system to check whether employees are citizens or legal residents. Another would block undocumented immigrants who’ve graduated from an Iowa high school from being eligible for in-state tuition at community colleges or the three state universities. Twenty-seven-year-old Cecilia Martinez says she’s lived in Iowa for 26 years, graduated from an Iowa high school, and, with federal deferred action on her immigration status, she was able to graduate from a state university.

The group objects to a third bill that would make it a felony to use a vehicle, boat, or plane in Iowa to hide an undocumented immigrant from authorities. Louis Gomez, who’s lived in Iowa since 2001, was an undocumented immigrant for the first 10 years he lived in the state.

Republicans who back the bills say if the federal government won’t enforce immigration laws, the state will — and the taxpayers of Iowa should not have their money going to people who are not here legally.



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