DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said Monday he doesn’t want the federal government to move undocumented children into his state.
Governors in Oklahoma and Nebraska said children dropped off at the U.S. border from other countries have recently been brought into their states without their knowledge. Branstad said that hasn’t happened in Iowa.
“Secure the border,” Branstad emphasized several times during his weekly news conference with reporters at the Iowa Statehouse.
Branstad said the United States shouldn’t accept the children brought into the country unlawfully. “Don’t want to send a signal to send kids illegally,” he said.
The White House estimated more than 50,000 children, many from Central American countries, have been taken to the U.S. border with the expectations they could then remain in the country.
“My God. This is a humanitarian crisis,” said Kathleen McQuillen, the Iowa Program Director of American Friends Service Committee.
McQuillen’s group, a Quaker-based organization, questions how the country could spend trillions on war and not have the pennies on those dollars to spend to take care of children in dire need. She said, “It’s a simple thing to begin to say, what’s important in this world?”
She said her organization hasn’t heard of anyone reaching out to bring undocumented children to Iowa yet. But she said her members will begin conversations on how to take in those children and get them started in their new lives in the state, if that should happen one day.