Immigration reform rally hopes to inspire others to get involved

Students, staff, and local Iowa City community members came out to the Pentacrest Saturday afternoon to speak out about immigration laws and the need for change.


Megan Nagorzanski

Community members partake in an immigration reform rally at the Pentacrest on Oct. 27, 2018. Iowans who have been negatively impacted by immigration shared their stories during the rally.

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

Members of the Iowa City community, alongside some local organizations, banded together to inform the public about the issues regarding U.S. immigration policies at a Pentacrest rally on Oct. 27.

Four speakers detailed how they were negatively affected by immigration laws and called for action by the Iowa City community.

The rally was sponsored by the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project, Iowa Poor People’s Campaign, Just Church, League of United Latin American Citizens, Iowa Students for Refugees, LoveWorks, and the Lutheran Campus Ministry.

Chants, songs, and stories from immigrant community members helped to educate the public on the issues that they are faced with and to stress the importance of how the laws and policies have hurt them.

“Various partners in the community came together today as a sort of solidarity because we are in a space where folks realize that we need to change the immigration dynamic in another dynamic in the world,” said Natalia Espina, a co-founder, and co-director of the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project. “We wanted to provide a peaceful space for their voices to be heard.”

Espina said the Eastern Iowa Project will continue to work toward increasing due process with regards to immigration. The group will also provide immigrants with monetary support for their bail bonds so that they may be released from jail and able to work on their immigration cases from the outside.

“We learn of concrete steps that we can take from events like these to combat the unjust immigration policies currently in our country,” LoveWorks President Marcus Miller said. “Four speakers spoke today about how this has affected them, but we know that there are countless stories that have arisen because of the immigration policies in the U.S.”

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Miller also said LoveWorks will continue to work on projects similar to this involving service and social justice.

The rally ended with three calls to action for those in attendance that highlighted what the rally organizers hope to accomplish: vote for individuals in support of reformation in immigration laws; join a network of other Iowans to both stay informed on current information relating to immigration justice as well as get others involved; and ask Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, to cosponsor a Dignity for Detained Act.

Many children, from toddlers to teens, were in attendance, holding handmade signs on immigration laws and the effects they had and noting that the laws diminished the friendships they had made.

Jared Loftus, a father of two toddlers in attendance, said, “As a parent, I value rallies such as these to be happening in our community. It is important to show my children and others that this is an issue. I want a better community for my children, and showing the increased support will help educate them on how important these issues are.”