Iowa’s acceptance of refugees shifts from past acceptance

Recently, Joe Biden issued a new bill on immigration laws in an attempt to modernize the United States immigration system. Said bill plans to give an opportunity for those to obtain citizenship. 

Due to the recent flood of migrants to the Southern border and the grand number of people who tried to enter the country earlier this year, last month President Biden met with six “dreamers”—participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in regards to his attempt of reversing from the Trump administration’s immigration laws and for his push to reform the bill in congress. 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or “DACA” is a United States immigration policy that allows people who were brought into the United States unlawfully as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be able to become eligible to obtain a work permit. 

Former President Donald Trump attempted to scrap the program, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Trump could end it but he did so “improperly,” so the Supreme Court ordered him to reinstate the program. In Biden’s first days in office, he ordered the reinstatement of the program.

Biden’s immigration Bill plans to provide pathways to citizenship and strengthen labor protections, provide smarter border controls and address root causes of migration. The bill is said to stimulate the U.S. economy and ensure that every worker is protected including Dreamers and essential workers who have entered the United States illegally.

Biden has received backlash from both left and right parties because of his handling of the flow of migrants at the southern border with Mexico. However, it is said he has said to have made progress in reducing the number of unaccompanied migrant children in customs and border protection, and they are being sent to human service facilities.

Immigrants from foreign countries were previously welcomed with open arms to the US, especially in Waterloo. 

Fifteen-year-old Eddy Sabic experienced first hand immigrating from Bosnia. Eddy’s mom Yasmina had not yet been pregnant with Eddy, but had had Eddy’s older brother Emil who was one year old at the time. Yasmina packed all her things and took her one year old son, and moved across the world leaving everyone and everything they knew behind. 

Fear of her children’s safety pushed Yasmina to flee to the United States, trying to get as far away from the war as possible, and to also be able to have good job opportunities to have a stable living situation for her young children. 

Yasmina dealt with war just outside of her house. To this day, Eddy describes his mom as bursting into tears when asked to talk about the war. She had many friends and family pass because of the war, including her own brother who died when he was only 20 years old while in battle. 

 Eddy’s opinion on immigration restrictions is that they should be strickening immigration laws. “I think that the laws should be a little more strict,” Sabic said. “Because right now our economy is not in a state where we can have people seeking refuge. To pass the borders, they should have a valid reason like seeking family or escaping war, escaping some sort of poor living or dangerous environment. I don’t think our country can handle a new flood of refugees. On top of that, we have COVID-19 to worry about. We may have developed a vaccination for the virus, but it still isn’t guaranteed to be completely safe. We still need to get that under complete control,” Sabic said.

Current Iowa governor Kim Reynolds believes that the recent surge of immigrants is “the president’s problem.” This completely differs from past Iowa governor Robert Ray’s views on immigration. 

Iowa became one of the largest settlement locations in the United States while Ray was in office. 

Gov. Ray allowed 1,400 Tai Dam refugees into Iowa with the government’s help. The Tai Dam group desperately sent 30 letters to 30 different United States governors asking for help to be allowed as refugees. Immediately Ray went to the capitol attempting to allow these refugees to come to Iowa. 

Ray has been often referred to as the Tai Dam communities “Abraham Lincoln” due to his help with refugees. 

Kim Reynolds has often been said to be turning the recent issues with immigration into a political issue however, Ray was motivated personally to help the refugees although there was no political gain.


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