DES MOINES, Iowa – Police in Des Moines were called out to several locations early Monday morning after receiving reports of “suspicious structures” placed around the city.
The cage-like structures contained dolls and speaker systems and were part of a political statement made by a non-profit group that advocates for underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.
A statement released by The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services says, “The horrors at our border and throughout our immigration system are too often ignored by the public and politicians,” said Erika Andiola, Chief Advocacy Officer for RAICES. “We’re asking people in Iowa and across the country: Don’t look away from the terrors enacted in your name. Don’t look away from the kids in cages, the asylum-seekers turned back at our border, the deportation raids destroying communities across the country. This anti-immigrant crackdown has to end.”
The Des Moines Police Department says nine of the structures were found around Des Moines, eight on public property and one on private property. One was located at Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus.
Police released a statement about the incidents, saying “The City of Des Moines enjoys the privilege of hosting and participating in Iowa’s “first in the Nation” caucuses, and has a long history of supporting the expression of differing opinions and accommodating the right to lawful protest. Keeping with that spirit, the Des Moines Police Department welcomes this piece of the political process, however we would like to request that when placing items to promote political agendas, candidates, or expressions of opinion, please consider not abandoning these items on public sidewalks or other public property.”