Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said she rejected a request by the federal government to house migrant kids in the state for temporary housing. Saying that the state does not have temporary facilities to lend, the need to find a home is the President’s problem. Besides, her mandate and priority are the health and safety of Iowans.
Lack of a Clear Plan For Federal Support
Iowa’s Department of Human Services made the decision based on an internal assessment. Consequently, local officials weighed in if the state is ready and able to respond to both local and federal needs. This is in light of a significant downturn in the economy amid a still-unchecked COVID-19 pandemic.
Responding to the request for accommodation, Iowa DHS Director Kelly Garcia notified the Biden administration last March 31 that they cannot. In a statement, the Iowa DHS attributed the reason to the lack of a clear plan from the federal government.
“This is due to limited resources and administrative concerns. We have an obligation to take care of our children first and absent the resources or a clear and comprehensive plan for federal support, we were unable to accommodate the request. We acknowledge this is an incredibly saddening and difficult situation,” she wrote.
‘Not Our Problem, It’s Biden’s Problem’
“This is not our problem,” Reynolds said. Specifically, Reynolds said that Iowa does not have any temporary facilities required by the federal government to house migrant kids. “This is the president’s problem. He’s the one that has opened the border, and he needs to be responsible for this and he needs to stop it,” she said.
In contrast, Reynolds showed her willingness to accept refugees when then-President Donald Trump asked states if they can do so in 2019. At that time, Trump signed an executive order that gave states the right to refuse to take refugees.
This gave state governments a say in how they want to deal with the migration problem back then. Reynolds was among more than 30 governors who supported Trump’s request. In addition, Reynolds clarified that there are distinctions between refugees and asylum seekers crossing the US southern border. The latter didn’t undergo a strict vetting process.
Border Crisis Still Raging
Last March, the US government picked up around 19,000 unaccompanied minors traveling across the Mexican border. This is currently the largest number ever recorded in a month. Attempts to cross the US border rose as soon as Biden assumed office as the president immediately relaxed migrant policies.
Believing that they have a better chance of making it, migrants arrived in droves to the US border. Some received assistance from local gangs, who provided various services to migrants to reach the border safely.
In particular, the number of unaccompanied children trying to reach the US grew. Whereas before, asylum-seekers had to wait in Mexico for scheduled US court hearings, children are now held at the US detention centers. Then, officials release them to US-based sponsors, usually parents or close relatives.
The kids can now stay in the country while waiting for the results of their asylum cases despite heavily backlogged immigration courts. The huge increase in children traveling alone (Some as young as 3) and families put border facilities close to breaking point. Government policy requires a maximum of three days’ stay for asylum.
However, the backlog in pending cases and the lack of housing are forcing the migrants to stay there much longer.
Watch the KCCI video report where Governor Kim Reynolds says she declined the request to house migrant children in Iowa:
Do you agree with Governor Kim Reynolds’ decision to help house migrant kids? What do you think of the ongoing border crisis? Should states far from the southern US border help with ongoing problems there?
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