VINTON | Gov. Terry Branstad is getting some brickbats from political opponents for his insistence that Iowa shouldn’t be playing host to unaccompanied illegal immigrant children, but none of that was evident on the campaign trail Tuesday.
Asked whether the state should welcome the children, Branstad offered his empathy for the “illegal entrants” along with criticism of the Obama administration’s failure to secure the nation’s borders.
“They have also failed to keep us informed,” he added, a reference to the federal Department of Health Education and Welfare not telling Iowa that more than 100 children who entered the country illegally have been placed in the state.
The state has not been told who the children are, how old they are, their health status, where they are and who they are with, he said.
“The administration has refused to share that information with the governors,” he said. “We’re very disappointed with the lack of transparency and the lack of rule of law.”
That seemed to meet with agreement from the more than 40 people who attended his campaign stop at Pizza Ranch in Vinton, which is friendly territory for the governor.
In 2010, Branstad carried Benton County 55-41 percent over incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver four years ago.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Jack Hatch has called for a Coalition of Mercy to welcome the children to Iowa in the tradition of the efforts to resettle Southeast Asian refugees after the Vietnam War.
However, Sen. Tim Kapucian, R-Keystone, who introduced the governor and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds in Vinton, said he thinks public opinion is on the governor’s side.
Based on comments he hears from his constituents, he thinks Iowans want the federal government to enforce the law and send illegal immigrants home.
He also called suggestions to open the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo to house the illegal immigrant children a “non-starter.”
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