Iowa Democrat Gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Jack Hatch and former Iowa Democrat congressman Dave Nagle are joining forces with a local chapter of the AFSCME in an effort to reopen a juvenile home for use as a shelter for illegal immigrants.
The Obama administration is scrambling to find space that it can use to house the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, both adult and children, that are puring across the US-Mexico border. At least 57,000 illegal immigrant minors have entered the US since October, with an estimated 150,000 expected to come next year, most coming from Central America.
Late last week the Department of Health and Human Services announced that 30,340 illegal immigrant minors have been released to a sponsor across the entire country, over one hundred and twenty of them ending up with a parent, relative, or family friend in Iowa.
The juvenile home that Hatch and Nagle want to have used to house even more illegals was closed earlier this year by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad following reports of abuse at the facility.
The Quad Cities Times has more on Hatch and Nagle’s desire to have Iowa host more illegals:
former U.S. Rep. Dave Nagle of the “Keep IJH Open” group, but the group is working with advocacy groups that have called for the state to welcome the children. AFSCME, which represented employees at the Toledo home for juvenile delinquent girls, supports the idea.
It’s a “valid option,” according to state Sen. Jack Hatch, who was among Democrats who went to court to overturn Gov. Terry Branstad’s closing of the facility amid allegations of abuse by staff members.
Hatch, who is challenging Branstad in the November election, said the idea would get consideration if the state had leadership like that delivered by Republican Gov. Robert Ray, who oversaw the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in the 1970s.
“This state deserves that kind of leadership but doesn’t have it right now,” he said.
AFSCME Local 61 President Danny Homan is not optimistic about reopening the Iowa Juvenile Home to host immigrant children.
“I’m under no illusions this governor is going to open the Iowa Juvenile Home to them given all he has said about that he doesn’t want them here,” Homan said.
That won’t stop him from pushing the idea, because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Nagle called the home an ideal setting for the immigrant children because it has housing, kitchen and medical facilities as well as classrooms.
Nagle, Homan and others will continue to push for using the Iowa Juvenile Home.
“We have a facility sitting there that is vacant that would work for them,” Homan said. “If all the parties wanted to make it work, they could make it work.”
“What’s the alternative?”
Hatch and Nagle aren’t alone in trying to bring more illegal immigrants to Iowa. As previously reported Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba is openly working with the White House to bring up to 200 illegal immigrant minors to his city, to be cared for by local charities and non-profits.