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Immigration Advocates Scrambling to Educate Community on Potential Deportation Changes

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Immigration law changes could be coming and families across the state are worried.

“We’ve been dealing with a lot of people who are really concerned and sort of panicked,” said Brynne Howard an attorney with Justice for Our Neighbors.

Howard says over the last few weeks, her office has been swamped. They're taking hundreds of calls each week from people concerned about deportation. In an effort to catch up and help those confused, her office has reached out and provided consultation clinics for those who could be effected.

No community has been affected like Marshalltown.

“It’s really been a scrambling process,” said Joa Laville, Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown.

LaVille and her group, Immigrant Allies,  have been on the ground with Howard trying to sort through the confusion with the potential immigration changes.

 “We’ve done a lot of work to try to not have people fanning these flames of fear. We’ve seen the stress and how much it’s impacting people's physical and mental health. It’s just not a way you can live,” said Laville.

The school district in Marshalltown is also sensing the uneasiness with the immigrant community. In an effort to help those families the district has sent a series of fact sheets home with students.

“We've sent some letter home to parents that said please update your contact information. We support you. Just another reinforcement of the support we have for our students and families,” said Andrew Potter with the Marshalltown Community School District.

All fronts know they have a long road ahead of them before this gets sorted out and the biggest piece of advice they can offer immigrant families is: be prepared.

“Have a plan to know who to call, if you were picked up. What your family members show do with your children or assets. It’s just really good to think through what you would do and what your families plan is,” said Howard.

Howard goes onto say, that if you’re concern, there are many free resources available and she recommends tracking them down, sooner rather than latter.