ICE Raids Have Some Central Iowa Immigrants on Edge

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IOWA — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have some in the central Iowa immigrant population on edge.

“It’s fear but like times 100. So, I live in fear all the time, but then when there’s that mention of a specific date that you can expect immigration raids, it just fills your whole life with fear,” said Luz, a DACA recipient.

Luz, who is using a pseudonym, is protected under the Obama administration’s policy but still fears for her parents, who are undocumented. The family escaped violence in El Salvador, fleeing the aftermath of a bloody civil war.

“My parents really wanted us to get a good education and to be able to achieve our dreams, and the only place that that would be possible was to come here,” she said.

For Luz, that dream is to become a lawyer. For another Dreamer, Ezra, that dream is to become a nurse. However, both have the fear that those dreams might go by the wayside. The worry is two-fold. First is the immediate threat of immigration raids conducted on Sunday.

“I fear for my parents and my family because, again, I’m thinking you know if something so terrible happens what am I going to do? I’m still here with my sisters and my little sister who was born here. If something happens to us, what happens to her?” said Ezra.

The second worry is that the immigration system will remain the way it is today.

“The only people who can immigrate ‘the right way’ are people that have money and know people at the top that have those connections and can pay their way here,” said Luz.

The process to legally immigrate to the United States can take years of time and thousands of dollars. Luz, whose family home in El Salvador was missing half of the roof, and whose neighborhood was being closed in on by gang violence, says her parents felt like they didn’t have the time or the money.

“So when people talk about ‘get in line, come the right way,’ there is no line, that doesn’t exist. That’s something that’s really frustrating, because no one is going to cross a desert and risk their life if there was another way,” said Luz.

“The people who say that just turn their ears and don’t want to know anything about us. They don’t want to give us a chance,” said Ezra.

At this point there hasn’t been any word of immigration raids in Des Moines.

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