Iowa Senator Tom Harkin will hold a public meeting on immigration reform in Ames tomorrow and he’ll be joined by the author of the much-debated DREAM Act. Harkin says he’s thrilled to be bringing fellow Democrat and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to Iowa to discuss this important topic.
“We wanted to have a forum to hear from young people and others about what the DREAM Act could mean to them,” Harkin says, “what their problems are of getting into college, even though they were brought here as a young person, sometimes as a baby, and this is the only country they’ve ever known.”
Harkin says the forum is a response to recent comments made by Iowa Congressman Steve King, a Republican, about illegal immigrants, comments Harkin calls “incendiary.” “We’re going to have business leaders, law enforcement, labor, religious leaders, young people,” Harkin says.
“The forum is not about King, Steve King. It’s to make the broad case for immigration reform and especially for the DREAM Act.” Congressman King opposes the immigration reform proposal and was quoted as saying, about people who were brought to the U-S illegally by their parents: “For everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Harkin says there’s no excuse for that kind of talk. “Congressman King has to understand that he is not speaking for the broad cross-section of Iowans in some of the terrible things that he said,” Harkin says.
“It is not reflective of what most of us Iowans feel.” The DREAM Act stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors. It would provide permanent residency status to certain immigrants who graduate from high school or serve in the military.
The forum is scheduled for 10 A.M. Friday at Ames Middle School.