Government

Reynolds: Congress should act on immigration

Governor would consider sending Iowa Guard to border

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to the media in May in Hiawatha.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to the media in May in Hiawatha. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

JOHNSTON — President Donald Trump has suggested congressional Republicans put off addressing immigration policy reform until after the November elections, but Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds hopes they do not wait that long.

Reynolds wants federal lawmakers and the president to develop new immigration policy immediately.

“It’s really time, I think, that we have Congress and we have the administration sit down and find solutions and find some common ground and get something done,” Reynolds said. “I think that they should do it now. It’s time to get something done.”

Reynolds reiterated she would not deploy Iowa National Guard troops to the southern U.S. border if it meant they would be assisting federal immigration agents in the separation of children from their families.

But she said she would consider a request to help agents address immigration-related issues like the illegal trafficking of children or drugs.

She does not think any Iowa cities are in violation of a new state law, set to go into effect July 1, which threatens to withhold state funding to local governments that do not cooperate with federal immigration agents.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable,” she said. “One of my No. 1 responsibilities is to make sure that we keep Iowans safe. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable if somebody that’s here and they’ve broken the law and they have been apprehended, that it’s unreasonable to send them back..”

Reynolds distanced herself from multiple inflammatory comments made the past two weeks by U.S. Rep. Steve King, the western Iowa Republican congressman and a co-chair of Reynolds’ campaign.

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King a week ago reposted on social media an immigration opinion piece by a self-described Nazi sympathizer. On Friday, King reposted a picture of what the original poster said were young Hispanic boys of detained parents, with his own comment that the boys appear to be old enough to be tried as criminals, serve in the military or become gang members.

Also on Friday, King said in a radio interview he does not want Somali Muslims working in Iowa pork plants because, he said, they wouldn’t eat pork themselves based on religious objections and would be hoping whoever does eat it will go to hell.

Iowa Democrats have criticized Reynolds for keeping King as a co-chair for her campaign.

She said Friday she does not plan to remove King as a campaign supporter in part because he represents roughly a quarter of the state. But she said she does not agree with King’s comments and added he is not involved in campaign policy discussions.

“We’re not going to agree on everything,” Reynolds said. “I make it clear when asked where I stand on specific issues, and I’ll continue to do that.”

“Iowa Press” will air on Iowa Public Television at noon Sunday and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World. The telecast also is available at IPTV.org.

l Comments: (515) 422-9061; erin.murphy@lee.net

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