A legislative committee is meeting in Des Moines today to discuss immigration. The meeting comes on the heels of a nationwide immigration raid two weeks ago at Swift meatpacking plants that included the plant in Marshalltown was the scene of. State Senator Dave Mulder of Sioux Center says while immigration policy is mostly a federal responsibility, but the state can send some messages on some specific laws.
One he says has to be dealt with is “the rule that if a baby is born in the U.S. that they are automatically a citizen.” He says that creates problems when a family has babies born here who are legal residents but the rest of the family is not. “Seems to me we’ve got to do something about that law to begin with.” It’s the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen.
Mulder says the 2007 legislature will see more immigration laws. He says a proposal to raise the minimum wage will be coming up, and Democrats who hold a majority in the state legislature are proposing legislation that would say people who work in a union shop would get benefits negotiated by the union even if they’re not members. “They’re getting the benefits of the negotiation and they’re not paying anything.”
Mulder says schools are getting involved as they see more Hispanic children. He says schools are welcoming the kids, and adding more staff to help them learn English. Mulder says they’re becoming a large part of the school body — 35-percent in West Sioux, 27-percent in Sioux Center, 11-percent in Rock Valley, 14-percent in Boyden-Hull.
Unemployment right now in the northwest Iowa region is as low as one and-a-half percent, Mulder says, “There are lots of jobs available and not enough people to fill them.”