From individual acts of advocacy to sweeping national changes from President Obama, 2014 saw remarkable progress in securing the rights of all Iowans, regardless of immigration status.
December 31, 2014
Faith Leaders Took Increased Action
In February, Bishop Julius Trimble of the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church was arrested during a peaceful protest at the White House that called for an end to deportations.
It was part of a larger effort by Iowa faith leaders and advocates, including the ACLU of Iowa, to draw politician's attention to the need for immigration reform. Those on-going efforts included 30 weekly vigils held at Representative Tom Latham's office in Des Moines.
In February, a number of law enforcement officials and a number of business, faith, labor, victims advocate, and community organizations pledged their support to creating a temporary driver's license for eligible immigrants in Iowa. Driver's licenses are key to all Iowa drivers—no matter what their immigration status—in order to have safe, reliable transportation to get to school, the doctor, work, and church.
Supporters signed on at www.iowasaferoads.com and stayed active through the year, heading strong into 2015 legislative session where we will work to make sure the momentum and support for this legislation continue to grow.
For the November elections, advocates worked tirelessly to make sure all eligible voters were aware of their voting rights and of where candidates stood on issues important to Iowans.
As part of this effort, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Iowa and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa is now pending with the Iowa Supreme Court. It involves the Iowa Secretary of States exceeding his authority in trying to remove suspected noncitizens from Iowa's voter registration list.
Also, the ACLU of Iowa revised its voting rights brochure in English and Spanish. With the help of immigrants' and voting rights groups, thousands were distributed before the election.
Iowa Sheriffs Declined to Hold People On ICE Requests
This summer, the ACLU of Iowa announced an initiative it had been working on with advocates all over the state reach out to local sheriffs. The sheriffs were asked not to comply with ICE requests to hold people who ICE suspects of being unauthorized immigrants. Often people have been held without any charges pending. So far, 26 Iowa sheriffs have said they will hold people only with a judicial warrant.
Obama Took Historic Executive Action on Immigration
In November, after years of pressure form advocates all around the country, President Obama announced an expansion of the DACA program, a new DAPA program, and changes to ICE's enforcement priorities.
Immigration Advocacy and Education Continued
Throughout the year, advocates across the state worked on advancing workers' rights and building support for municipal IDs in Iowa City. They held rallies and vigils in Des Moines. On-going strategy meetings were held in Storm Lake and diversity trainings was offered in Hampton. Informational sessions in Marshalltown and DACA clinics all over the state.
DREAMers around the state continued their powerful networking both in person and on social media, as in the Facebook post (right) on Hillary Clinton's visit to Iowa.
With every action and every relationship we build, we continue to send a strong message that Iowans are welcoming and that the rights of all our neighbors should be protected.
Thank you to all of you who took action and were involved. May we continue strong in 2015!