Questions I wanted to ask Sen. Grassley

By George Cummins, Charles City

Iowa’s Senator Grassley was in Charles City last week for a town hall meeting. The venue was too small and the overflow crowd, me included, spilled out into the hallway out of sight and earshot. For his age, Sen. Grassley is still quick on his feet, dancing around every pointed question.

With the Trump travel bans and the increased effort to deport illegals, I had a series of questions that I wanted raised with our senator and also with Rep. Steve King, who avoids public appearances in my county. They include:

— Remember Postville? What lessons were learned? The latest related article that I could pull up on Google was the NY Times article from July of 2012. Perhaps Postville and any packing plant town should be revisited?

— On immigration: What is the difference between a refugee and an immigrant, amnesty and asylum? One in seven people in the world are displaced. If you and your family were displaced by a natural disaster (flood, drought, rising sea level, etc,) or manmade disaster (war, genocide, economic political, etc.), where would you go and what lengths would take to get there?

— If we limit immigration from certain countries and deport all illegals, shouldn’t we tear the plaque off the Statue of Liberty that reads:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
“Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
“The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
“Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
“I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

— How should good Christians apply the teachings of Mathew 25— “I was
hungry and you fed me, naked and you clothed me, thirsty and you gave
me drink, a stranger and you took me in … ?”

— My daughter Molly teaches in Phoenix, Ariz. The majority of her students are minority. They are worried that their parents, some here legally, will be deported and they will go home to an empty house. That shouldn’t be a major concern for a third grader. What is your response to contacts from DREAMIOWA – the organization whose members are
children of undocumented parents — who have benefited from DACA?

— The Trump administration is vowing to “renegotiate” trade deals including NAFTA. Trade is a two-way street that hopefully benefits both partners. In any trade deal some sectors of an economy benefit and some do not. Midwest Agriculture has benefited. Exports have created markets for Iowa corn, soybeans, meat and dairy products which strengthen commodity prices. Corn prices are half what they were two years ago and farmers are scrambling to make ends meet. Who benefits from low corn prices? Ethanol producers like Flint Hills Energy, a Koch Brothers company, which is also a major contributor to political campaigns. Can we connect the dots?

— Daniel Finney writes for the Des Moines Register. Last fall, his column focused on immigration control and an interview with Kenneth Quinn, the president of the World Food Prize and former ambassador to Cambodia. Quinn suggested the ultimate solution to our immigration problems is to improve the standard of living in these countries and promote security, justice and opportunity for all. The article has a history of the U.S. foreign policies which have created many of these problems. Hopefully, Quinn’s comments have been shared at the highest levels and will be implemented. Trade agreements that are mutually beneficial are a starting point.

Thanks for all you do to lend light instead of more heat to these contentious issues.

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