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A closer look at Des Moines organization serving Iowa's immigrant population

Two nonprofits joined together to meet the needs of immigrants and refugees in the state by offering more advocacy and legal services.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice launched Thursday, April 1.

The new organization is a combination of Justice for our Neighbors Iowa and American Friends Service Committee Iowa. 

The goal of those two nonprofits joining together is to meet the needs of immigrants and refugees in the state.  

They will offer legal services to clients like the last two nonprofits did, but will also do more advocacy work.

"We're going to continue working on this movement to push back on laws that hold us back, to find resources, elevate mutual aid efforts, and really bring the community together," Murguia-Ortiz of Iowa MMJ said. 

The organization wants to provide immigrants with legal services that are high quality, but affordable. And its something they want to distribute throughout the state. 

"You know there really isn't a lot of immigration legal services here in the state," Murguia-Ortiz said. "So it's really important to ensure that Iowa stops being a desert, and you know we can have like infrastructures in place to be able to help people all over the state in every town and every city here."

One of Iowa MMJ's first acts as a new organization is speaking out for the largest group of ICE detainees in the state.

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"Given the new administration's policies, and new administration's guidelines, that would fit under that criteria to release them instead of actually transitioning them or relocating them to another facility,"  Murguia-Ortiz said.

Murguia-Ortiz said the organization will also help its clients understand how leadership works and how to talk to people in certain situations, to make sure they are not being taken advantage of.

If you are an immigrant, refugee or someone seeking asylum, you can reach out to Iowa MMJ at 515-274-4851.

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