The surge of illegal migration from the Northern Triangle due to the change in immigration policies by the current administration is fast putting pressure on non-border states to set up facilities to accommodate the large numbers of families and children who are being bused and flown to the interior of the country. As Steve Bannon has repeatedly stated in his War Room podcast, "all states are border states now."
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds spoke on April 8 with local radio personality Jeff Angelo who hosts the "Need to Know" radio show, about her decision to decline a request by the Biden administration to provide foster care for migrant children in her state. According to Angelo, the decision "caused news stories across the state and a social media reaction." They also discussed vaccine passports, to which she is adamantly opposed, and gun control. She signed into law a constitutional carry law on April 2.
Reynolds believes that Biden's immigration policy and executive orders on gun control are irresponsible. She said that Biden, who said he would heal this country, has done anything but that. "He is continuing to divide the country...with his outlandish executive orders," she continued. Particularly egregious is "what's happening at the border because of his irresponsible actions."
Reynolds views the crisis at the border as an "Iowa problem." She told Angelo that the "open border policy that this president has implemented is a national security issue." She cited the two Yemeni men who recently crossed the border on the FBI's terror watchlist as one of the reasons for her sincere concern.
"The drugs and the human trafficking that are coming across these borders—we have interstates 35 and 80 that run directly through Iowa here in the heartland of America, and we have already seen an uptick of drugs, human trafficking, and Fentanyl...It's unconscionable what we're seeing and the cost and the dollars being put into supporting illegal immigrants and taking care of these children..."
Reynolds does not think that Iowans should have to foot the bill to house the migrants. "We have said, 'No,' adding it is the one time she's been asked. During the Obama administration, governors were subject to migrants moving into states "without any heads up," she explained. Reynolds believes her "number one priority is to protect the health and welfare of Iowa's citizens."
Reynolds does not want to house migrant children in Iowa at this point. She explained that Iowa "does not have the facilities. We are not set up to do that. This is not our problem; it is the President's problem. He's the one who opened the borders. He needs to be responsible for this, and he needs to stop it. So, at this point, no."
Her comments ignited fiery debate on many social media platforms. Some Iowans agree with Reynolds, but for many, her comments evoked vitriol.
Twitter/Kim Reynolds Responses
During the Trump administration, Reynolds was one of thirty governors who stated a willingness to accept refugees to her state after President Trump issued an executive order allowing states to decide for themselves about the housing of refugees. However, to clarify, reporting by the AP indicates that Reynolds issued a statement in 2019 saying that "refugees should not be confused with asylum seekers crossing the southern border at Mexico who don’t go through a strict vetting process."
Iowa is an agricultural state which has long employed Mexican and Latino migrant workers. According to reporting in 2020 by the Des Moines Register, "By 2019, Latino immigrants from Mexico as well as the Caribbean, Central America and South America made up 6.2 percent (195,614) of Iowa’s population." Reynolds has been the Republican governor of Iowa since 2017 and served as Lt. Governor from 2011 to 2017. According to her gubernatorial page biography, she served as the Clarke county treasurer before being elected to the Iowa Senate in 2008.
Election integrity has also been a priority for Governor Reynolds. She has joined other states with her recent support for SF413, legislation that "strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors. All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot,” according to her statement on Mar. 8.