DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds’ voyage to the Texas-Mexico border crossing came with some criticism back in Iowa.
Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, an organization that provides legal assistance and other support to immigrants and migrant workers, called Reynolds’ appearance at the border with nine other Republican governors “extremely frustrating.”
The organization’s president, Erica Johnson, said they hoped Reynolds would have spent the time learning and talking with Iowa’s immigrant population instead of traveling to the Rio Grande.
Johnson said most Iowan immigrants come here because of unsafe situations in their homeland, not to do criminal activity.
“It’s a right of individuals to seek asylum at our border,” Johnson said. “When she uses terminology that’s ignorant and not based on the reality…when she refers to people asking for asylum at the border as illegal immigrants, we don’t believe human beings can be illegal.”
Johnson said her organization reached out to Reynolds’ office before her Texas trip to educate her about Iowa’s immigrants but did not hear back.
According to the United States Census Bureau, about five percent of Iowans were born in another country. In some Iowa towns with increased migrant populations, such as Perry and Marshalltown, the Census estimates as many as one in five people were born outside of the United States.