Branstad vs. children

Terry BranstadBy Dave Leach – Governor Terry Branstad will oppose any child refugees seeking refuge in Iowa, he said today. CBS reported, “Branstad said he was not aware of any of the children currently living in Iowa and that state has not been contacted by the federal government about housing any immigrant children.”

Interesting, because three days ago the message came across a network of my Democrat friends, “We had a jail staffer come to the public library today where I work and ask if we had any adult Spanish books on our book sale….he was trying to meet some reading needs for 50 new female detainees at our county’s jail that have been bussed here from Texas.” Maybe not children, but space for the children probably requires moving some adults around. Of course Branstad didn’t complain about taking adults. Maybe its because the adults cost a couple of hundred dollars a day and the kids are free?

A year or two ago I heard him agree with WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson that Plyler v. Doe was all wrong in 1982; undocumented children (“dreamers”) should not be given a free public school education. A month ago congressional candidate Brad Zaun got roped into the same foolishness; my open letter to him explains why Plyler was right, and Branstad is wrong.

Branstad’s predecessor was Iowa Governor Robert Ray. In 1975, Ray initiated programs to let Vietnamese refugees come here. By Christmas of 1975, over 10 of them were staying in my parents’ home, and were employed by my parents in our family music store. I understand he was the first governor to open Iowa’s doors to refugees; apparently Branstad wants his legacy to be that he was the last.

But Branstad said “I do have empathy for these kids.” That makes me feel better. But he said we can’t send the message that everyone can just come here illegally.

I wonder if anyone will be able to get the message through to him that the children are coming legally – at least the significant portion of them who are coming and promptly presenting themselves to border authorities? They are doing exactly what our laws tell them to do. Oh I forgot. It’s not all laws that Branstad wants obeyed. If they give immigrants a break, like letting kids go to school, he’s agin ’em.

The law:

The Convention and Protocol Regarding the Status of Refugees states the innocence of refugees:

“The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence. (Article 31, (1))”

These kids are turning themselves in without delay to authorities. (Reported by Bob Quasius, July 14, 2014)

Branstad’s passion for “rule of law”, which he interprets as a mindless, legalistic enforcement of the letter of any law that trips up The Other Guy, doesn’t apply to all laws. For example, the law America has had since before it was a nation, that everyone born here is a citizen here, (even slaves were 3/5 of a citizen), is ripe for revolt in his mind. And as for Iowa children born here, and thus citizens according to the U.S. Code and according to the 14th Amendment, but born to undocumented parents, getting to go to our fantastic public universities at the lower rates available only to Iowa citizens? Bad idea. He told a crowd he would oppose it, but retracted his pledge three days later after boning up on the Constitution. But he didn’t say he liked that part of the Constitution, though. I don’t think he does.



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