DES MOINES, Iowa — Experts in immigration law shared their thoughts on the current state of the legal immigration process; just after a semi-truck with at least 50 dead migrants was found in San Antonio, TX on Monday.
According to authorities in San Antonio, the death toll from this incident is the highest ever that is related to human smuggling. Back in October of 2002, there were 11 bodies of migrants found in Denison, IA in an empty grain hopper. An immigration lawyer said that there needs to be clear paths to citizenship to help stop these incidents from happening.
“But we need to have temporary worker cards and offer a pathway to citizenship and you got to do it realistically, or you are going to keep having these semi-trailers full of bodies, and train cars with bodies in them,” said James Benzoni, an immigration attorney in Des Moines.
Benzoni has been working in immigration law for almost three decades. In the last two decades, Benzoni said that the issue is getting politicized and that is impacting how the immigration court can play out.
Another spokesperson from a non-profit in the metro said that there is not a clear path for legal immigration.
“The reality is is that imaginary line to get in doesn’t exist. So folks are forced into situations where they take very dangerous routes to come here, whether that is filling in a big truck, walking through dangerous deserts,” said Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz, a community organizer with the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice. “Essentially the system needs a dramatic change ensure that we are creating a situation so that folks can come here.”
Both highlighted the need for work permits and for paths to citizenship for those migrants who are already living in the United States.