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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

'The president's problem': Gov. Reynolds declines to help house migrant children

Reynolds’ stand on accepting immigrant children contrasts with her willingness to accept refugees coming into the United States in 2019.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Editor's Note: The video above is from March 25, 2021. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she has rejected a federal request to accept migrant children into the state, saying the need to find homes for them "is the president's problem.” 

Reynolds told WHO radio on Tuesday that her priority is the health and safety of Iowans and that the state doesn’t have facilities to house migrant children for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Reynolds’ stand on accepting immigrant children contrasts with her willingness to accept refugees coming into the United States in 2019 when then-President Donald Trump signed an executive order giving states the right to refuse to take refugees. 

Reynolds was among more than 30 governors who said they would.

The Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice called the governor's statements "callous" in a release sent to local media: 

“We are disappointed that Governor Reynolds has decided on behalf of all Iowans that these children are “not our problem”, yet we are not surprised. This Governor and former Governor Branstad have repeatedly turned their backs on immigrants, including children and families. Expecting this callous response, Iowans have been strategizing for weeks, and indeed for years, about how to best offer support to migrants seeking safety.

We are deeply concerned about unaccompanied children and the use of overcrowded influx facilities to detain them when they arrive at the border seeking protection. Efforts should be made to place children in safe environments with family members or guardians as soon as possible upon their arrival. We urge officials to ensure that the well-being of children and their families is the top priority. We join with other immigrants’ rights organizations calling for an end to holding children in detention facilities and for restoring access to asylum.

While our elected officials are again failing to respond adequately to a crisis, Iowans are working to reunite families and solve the systemic problems facing immigrants and refugees.”

Watch: What would Biden's immigration plan look like for Iowans?