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Fixing our Immigration System: A Proposal from the Sioux County 100

Our experiences and conversations with many of our Anglo and Hispanic neighbors in northwest Iowa convince us that the current set of federal immigration laws is dysfunctional and incremental steps can be taken immediately to improve our current laws, in the absence of comprehensive reform.

We affirm the Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Statement of Principles which say:

  • We believe all people, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, are made in the "image of God" and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6).
  • We believe there is an undeniable responsibility to love and show compassion for the stranger among us (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Leviticus 19:33-34, Matthew 25:31-46).
  • We believe that immigrants are our neighbors, both literally and figuratively, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and show mercy to neighbors in need (Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:25-37).
  • We believe in the rule of law, but we also believe that we are to oppose unjust laws and systems that harm and oppress people made in God's image, especially the vulnerable (Isaiah 10:1-4, Jeremiah 7:1-7, Acts 5:29, Romans 13:1-7)
  •  We believe that biblical teachings relative to “justice” must be balanced by the biblical call to “show mercy” (Matthew 23:23)

Our conversations with our Hispanic neighbors in northwest Iowa revealed that the most negative effect of current immigration laws on Hispanic immigrants has been the destructive effects on the unity of their families. This leads us to affirm the central importance of the goal of fostering family unity and the flourishing of families as we seek reform in immigration laws, a goal that we believe can be embraced by persons of good will on both sides of the political aisle.

We support the following three goals:

·      Protect Families and Children -- Reform immigration law to be more “family friendly” – enabling immigrant families to stay together or reunite, and enabling immigrant families to flourish

Possible steps to consider for accomplishing this goal include:

o   Eliminate the caps on visas for family members of legal immigrants to the US in order to facilitate the legal reunification of a husband and wife, or a parent and child

o   Reduce the waiting time for separated families, including elimination of the problem of an immigrant who leaves the US to visit family having to wait an inordinate amount of time (sometimes 6 to 10 years) to be able to return to the US, with no guarantee of re-entry

o   Maintain the constitutional rights of birthright citizenship

o   Revise immigration law to avoid the deportation of parents that effectively abandons their children who are U. S. citizens

o   Reintroduce in Congress a revised version of the Dream Act that addresses some of the perceived deficiencies in the original legislative proposal, and provides the US citizen children of illegal immigrants the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as the children of legal US citizens

·      Grow Small Town Economies -- Expand legal avenues for workers to enter our country and work in a safe and legal manner with their rights and due process fully protected, and for workers who are already contributing to our economy through employment to continue to work while applying for legal status that reflects their contribution to our communities

Possible steps to consider for accomplishing this goal include:

o   Provide a one-time opportunity for illegal immigrants to come forward and earn a path toward permanent legal status by satisfying specific rigorous criteria, to include evidence that they have been employed and have not broken the law before or since their illegal entry

o   Establish a viable “guest worker” program in that will be fair to both American workers and immigrant workers, creating legal avenues for workers and their families to enter our country and work in safety with their rights and due process fully protected

o   Extend Worker visa programs beyond “temporary employees” (as in agriculture) to include “non-seasonal” employees (issuing visas for up to 3 years)

o   Change the procedures by which illegal immigrants with American family members apply for legal status (obtaining a “green card”), allowing a crucial early step to take place in the United States rather than in the immigrant’s home country

o   Institute sufficient punishments for employers who take advantage of the unprotected status of immigrant workers to violate laws regarding wages, benefits and working conditions

·      Practice Smart Law Enforcement Implement smart immigration law enforcement initiatives consistent with maintaining human dignity and respect that includes fostering positive relationships with all local residents while deterring and punishing criminal activity

Possible steps to consider for accomplishing this goal include:

o   Consider ways in which law enforcement officers can engage members of the immigrant community in “non-official” capacities for the purpose of fostering trusting relationships

o   Revise the Secure Communities Program to foster more effectively its purpose of capturing convicted criminals and persons deemed as security threats, without the present unintended consequenceof driving immigrants “deeper into the shadows” and deterring them from helping law enforcement officers combat crime

o   Embed any improved E-Verify system for insuring that immigrants have authorization to work in the US within an established path toward permanent legal status       

Local petition signers

There are currently 814 signatures
Name City Comment
Joe'l Vander Waal Sheldon
John R Visser Sioux Center
Marcelo Largaespada Sioux Center There is so much fear and so much pain in the immigrant communities in the United States. I am filled with joy to see this effort to return dignity to the most vulnerable.
phil scorza orange city
Russ Adams Orange City
Nathan Kuik Orange City
Sharyl Wielard Sioux Center
Titus Landegent Le Mars We may disagree about specifics, but I think we can all agree that immigration policy is broken and is harming our nation's future. With too many politicians kicking the can down the road, it is time we concerned citizens make our desires known.
Travis Coblentz Sioux Center
John Zwart Sioux Center
Emma Roetman Sioux Center
Dale Landegent Sioux Center Deception and assuming someone has "2nd class" status is damaging both the Anglo and Latino communities.
Kay Joiner Orange City, IA
Robert Mars Sioux Center, Iowa
Gary McEldowney Sioux Center
Leanne Mouw Sioux Center
Melanie Cleveringa Sioux Center Three main goals are nicely written; however, this petition lacks educational goals including components of the Dream Act. Are we foregoing these initiatives?
Dawn Mouser Sioux Center
Heather Mouw Sioux Center
Dee Overman Hull, IA
Jill Haarsma Orange City, Ia
Dan Young Orange City
Lori Huisman Sioux Center
JoAnn Gotto Sioux Center, IA
Gretchen Bruhn Sioux Center
carl saalbach Chapin, South Carolina
Casey Portz Alton
Paulo Reimann Sao Paulo A country is built on diversity and convergence!
Bernardo Segoviano Hospers, IA
Tom and Carmen Tilgner Hawarden
Alyssa Edman Orange City
Tara Woodward Orange City
Julie Lang Creston
Betty Still Mount Ayr, IA
Ed Verburg Rock Valley
Donald Owens Sioux Center
Haley Ginger Sanborn
Liz Kester Orange City
Andrew Champ-Doran Kingston, NY
Sean Schiebout Sioux Center
Gary Patton Rock Rapids, IA It is time Congress addresses immigration reform.
Kathy Hall Mount Ayr
Perla Alarcon-Flory SIoux City, IA
Rosa Lupercio sioux city ia
Jodi Angus Mount Ayr, IA
Steve Meissner Sioux Center
Betty Johnson Hospers, IA
Amie Estelle Orange City
Justin Karmann
Angie Sas Hull
Nicki Schlickbernd
Jessica White Orange City, IA
gwen weyen Sioux Center
Carol Oostra Sioux Center
tayler kelly Orange City
Lavelle McManimon Sioux Center
Justin Schuiteman Orange City
Shirley Matheis Sioux Center
Christina Eggink-Postma Sioux Center
Virginia Vermeer Sioux Center
Tim McConnel Sioux Center
April De Wit Rock Rapids
Nicole Baart Sioux Center
Rachel Postma Sioux Center "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
Katherine DeWit Sioux Center
Arloa Sikkema Orange City
Brooke Hiemstra Orange City
Andrea Donahoe Orange City
Morgan Meissner Sioux Center
Nick and Bree Brouwer Maybe this effort will actually make us practice these goals on a day-to-day basis with our neighbors.
Janelle Swager Sioux Center
Candace TeKrony Sioux Center
Heather Craven Orange City, IA
Denise Krebs Orange City, Iowa Great! Thanks for working to fix the broken system! Planting seeds of redemption!
Krystal Van Otterloo Sheldon
Kassie Carpio Orange City
Heidi Hildebrandt Orange City, IA
Trevor McMahan Orange City
Robert De Haan Sioux Center
Erica Graber Orange City
Emma Cress Orange City
Linda Visser Sioux Center
Kim Scorza Orange City
Stan Vanden Berg Sioux Center, IA 51250
Len and Lee Rhoda Sioux Center, IA Thank you for this petition!
Carla Vande Zandschulp Sioux Center
Jordan Vermeer Maurice, IA
Amanda Bahena Sioux Center Thank you for bringing these important issues to light, and for supporting the needs and hopes of this community!
Marjorie Culligan Sheldon
Jenna Beeson Orange City
Gretchen Zomermaand sioux center
Crystal Pottebaum Alton, IA
James Nhan Orange City
Clayton Blythe Orange City
Rebecca Alsum Orange City
Mikayla Schmidt Granville
Lori Mars Orange City
Breanna Mars Orange City
Kelsey Tilgner Alton
Jeff Joiner Orange City
Donna Hoadley Sheldon Bravo! I commend your actions and wish you much success!
Judith Culligan Sheldon
John Van Dyk Sioux Center
Anne Plageman Maurice
Mark Slemp Maurice
Marabel Allen Orange City, Iowa
Stan Vander Weide Iowa City
Jim Ludens Orange City
Janine Calsbeek Orange City
Pamala De Jong Sioux Center
Dennis De Jong Sioux Center
Ruth Mahaffy Sioux Center
Robert Drenten Orange City, IA
Nancy Dorhout Rock Valley
Mary Roetman Sioux Center
Jen Arnett Orange City
Ann Calsbeek
Rahn Franklin Jr. Paullina, Iowa
Rebecca De Vries Sioux Center
Karla Arevalo Orange City
Anne Mead Orange City
Marion Van Soelen Hull Each situation needs to be addressed but I am not for unconditional amnesty.
Jonalee Jackes Sioux City, IA
Stephanie J. Heie Sioux Center
Arlyn Schaap Orange City, IA. 51041
Rhonda Triezenberg Rock Valley, IA
Rick Droog Orange City
Kristin Mellema Orange City
Nickolas Van Beek Rock Valley, IA
Lacey Heie Sioux Center
Nancy Jansen Orange City
Nathan Tintle Sioux Center
S Van Dyk Sioux Center
Sheila Heie Sioux Center
Jenness Wolgen Orange City And the greatest of these is LOVE
Lizbeth Moss Alton
Becky Drissell Sioux Center
Johanna Roos Sioux Center
Dawn Wolthuis Sioux Center
Thomas R. Wolthuis Sioux Center "Who is my neighbor?" Is not a question to divide, but to unite. We need more "us", not "them", when we meet each other. We need to see "brother", not "other", "sister", not "sinister".
Jason Van Wyk Orange City, IA
Andy Schroedermeier Sioux Center
Marge De Boer Sioux Center, IA
Calvin Jongsma Sioux Center
Rev.Gianni Gracia Sioux Center Iowa I hope our voice kept the attention of the whole community to act as one body in favor of those who are voiceless, and I think especially in our undocumented kids and young people who are lack of hope for this existing broken system... This effort is great God Bless all of you...
Duane Postma Sioux Center The church has the God-given responsibility to minister to all people. Are we doing all we can?
Douglas De Boer Sioux Center, Iowa "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . . "
Dave Mulder Sioux Center
Mindy Walstra-Hummel Sioux Center, Ia.
Ryan Walters Sioux Center It's refreshing to see a small community see past fear-based hatred that many others harbor for their immigrant neighbors.
Rev. Douglas Van Aartsen Ireton This is a much needed and Christlike effort from our Christian community.
Sonya Knauss Sioux Center
Hannah Haverhals Hawarden
Bonnie Reinders Sioux Center
Lisa Christians Sioux Center, Iowa
Sara Nessa Alton
Adrienne Forgette Orange City
Amanda Vazquez Orange City
Dorenda Van Gaalen Sioux Center
Tyler McKenney Orange City
Jan Snyder Sibley, Iowa
Talitha Witt Orange City, Iowa
Jeff Taylor Orange City, IA We are in urgent need of attitudes, policies and laws that will reconcile nationalities and unite communities. Such a goal is a win-win for all.
Beverly K Walhof Orange City
Kenton Pauls Orange City
Kara Lorenzo Orange City, IA
Jan Wilbeck Orange City
Tyler Simmelink Orange City
Jerry Van Es Sioux Center, Iowa
Herm Van Niejenhuis Sioux Center, Iowa
Darlene Jensen Orange City
Dennis Wright Hull
michelle f hadley Sioux Center
Katherine Wallin Rosemount, MN
Nancy Widbin
Byron Noordewier Orange City
Bryent L Slagter Lake Lillian
Tamie Van Es Alton
Ashley Anderson Boyden
Victoria Karssen Orange City
Barb Dewald Orange City
Jackie Olson Orange City
Kim Westerholm Orange City
Mary Jo Lee Sioux Center
Todd TeGrotenhuis Orange City
Wilma Muilenburg Hospers
Andrea Hallberg Orange City
Curtis Taylor Sioux Center
Rebecca Lokker Orange City
Renee Guthmiller Orange City, Iowa
Mark Vellinga Orange City
Patricia Kornelis Sioux Center
Murray Andersen Alton
Maria Simmelink Orange City
Elizabeth Truesdell Orange City, IA
Linda Dykstra Maurice, IA
Cathy Van Es Orange City
Terri Duistermars orange city
Erin Toews Orange City, IA
Brady Aalbers Alton