A handful of members from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will gather in Dubuque Friday morning to convene a hearing on immigration reform. Congressman Steve King, a Republican from western Iowa sits on the House Judiciary Committee and he’ll be there. “Every time we have an immigration hearing, and I’ve by now been to I think well over 50 of them — and I actually sit in on them two, three, sometimes four times a week — but it all adds to the knowledge base that I have,” King says.
King is an advocate of raising the penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrations and he believes it’s time to build a fence along the southern border of the United States to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the country. President Bush and a number of U.S. Senators back a plan they say would create a path to citizenship for the illegal immigrants who are already living and working here because it’s impractical round up millions of illegal immigrants and sent them home. “But what we’re looking at today is a Senate that wants to establish ‘guest worker’ that really is amnesty and they want to build it upon the foundation of just a promise of enforcement, not on any demonstration of enforcement,” King says. “That’s the debate that’s in front of us in America.”
While the public’s welcome to attend Friday’s immigration hearing in Dubuque, they won’t be able to testify. The list of witnesses is already determined. “The public is welcome to attend but they won’t be allowed to speak into the record,” King says. “They will have an opportunity before the hearing to meet some of the members of the committee and have those conversations or afterwards, and if they have a statement that they’d like to get into the hands of the committee members, I would suggest that they bring it with enough copies that they could hand one to each of the committee members.”
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Friday in the Grand River Center in Dubuque.
Today at noon, a group of Iowa religious leaders will hold a rally and march in Dubuque to call for policies that “welcome immigrants.” Reverend Gregory Palmer, the Iowa bishop for the United Methodist Church, and the head of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Hispanic ministries will be among those participating.