DES MOINES, Iowa -- The immigration crisis hits home, with Gov. Terry Branstad saying illegals are not welcome in Iowa.
"Just because we're an empathetic and supportive country doesn't mean that we can take everybody," Branstad told reporters, "The first thing we need to do is secure the border and I do have empathy for these kids, but I also don't want to send the signal that send your kids to America illegally. That's not the right message."
Maria Rodriguez-Romero knows the pain deportation can cause. She and her brother, Geraldo, came to America 16-years ago. Two years ago, he was deported, leaving behind his wife and three kids. "I miss my brother a lot because not able to see him," Rodriguez-Romero said, "It's really sad because the kids no understand the love. The kids no understand what is their dad."
Mary E. Campos is an American Citizenship Teacher. She says this isn't a political or financial issue, it's a humanitarian issue. "I've had Hondurans tell me that when the boys are seven or eight years old, if they don't join the gangs, they just shoot them. The little girls, they rape them. What could you possibly do to a child that's worse than that?" she asks.
The governor says no one on the federal level has contacted the state about housing the children here, and to his knowledge, none have been sent here. Over the weekend, Branstad and other governors met with the US Health and Human Services Secretary as the Obama Administration looks for states willing to host the children.