Iowa Senator Charles “Chuck” Grassley Leading Anti-Immigrant Wing of U.S. Senate
Two Iowans led a protest alongside 40 immigrant leaders from 10 states in Washington DC on May 14, packing into Senator Charles Grassley’s (R-Iowa) office to demand he withdraw his 77 anti-immigrant amendments from the immigration reform bill being discussed this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The powerful action was led by Gloria Aguilar, a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) from Des Moines, and Mazahir Salih, a member of the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa (CWJ) from Iowa City. Two pastors led the group of community leaders in prayer, as Aguilar and Salih laid out movement demands to Senator Grassley’s chief of staff, David Edmund Young.
The group also protested at Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Alabama) office, another leading anti-immigrant voice in the U.S. Senate alongside Grassley.
One of the worst amendments sponsored by Senator Grassley would prevent immigrants in provisional status from coming back to the United States after traveling to their home country for emergencies, such as to visit sick relatives. The inability to travel while processing documents has caused much suffering among immigrant communities, who have been kept away from their families in cases of tragic illness or death.
Other amendments sponsored by the Iowa Senator during the legislative “mark-up” aimed at destroying a path to citizenship for 11 million hopeful Americans. Grassley is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“We are very disappointed that Senator Grassley has turned his back on his constituents,” said Aguilar, “but we will not stop fighting to win immigration reform that has a clear path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants and puts communities and families first, instead of deportations, harsh enforcement and border control.”
After making their powerful demands, the group of community leaders exited Senator Grassley’s office while singing “We Shall Overcome”.
Iowa CCI members will hold a community meeting on immigration reform on May 30 at 6:30pm at the Polk County Central Senior Center on the corner of Forest Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Des Moines. The meeting will feature Sulma Arias from Sunflower Community Action – a Kansas-based community power organization – and is expected to draw more than one hundred Latinos and immigrant allies.