I’m an undocumented immigrant. My family and I grew up in New Hampton, Iowa. I’m an Iowan. I speak Spanish thanks to my mom, and I can cook like a Mexican.
But I’m also an Iowan, and my family respects tradition and family values. This is why my mom used to own a store in Steve King’s district, and the whole community embraced my family, thanks to our involvement with the Church and our actions with Iowa families.
I strongly disagree with Representative Steve King’s follow up to Donald Trump’s comments on remittances to Mexico being mostly part of the illegal drug trade.
Many, if not all, of the hard-working immigrants that would come in to our store sent money to their families. This hard-earned money was sent to grandmas, grandpas, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters. In no way was this money used for drugs.
Just look around and you will see us first-generation Iowans working 60-80 hours per week as the common norm. We are business-owners and we are loyal workers. Many of us know the English language. Others are learning it every day by being part of an embracing community.
NAFTA caused Mexican and Central American rural families to search for agricultural jobs in Iowa. We are here to help in good faith.
My Republican and Democratic friends embrace me and my family and show joy at our contributions to society. This is not a party division — this is just a division between us and our spirit and faith for humanity.
Please stop spreading fear to separate Iowans. I have seen, first-hand, Steve King’s tactic of fear. His words spread fear to separate Iowans from undocumented Iowans, instead of embracing the community that has helped rural and urban Iowa greatly.
We are all human beings and, in my case, I share my Christian-Catholic family’s values that many Iowans have.
Please, stop the Republican Party from getting a bad reputation among new immigrants. I’m just a daughter of an amazing single mother who is now a homeowner, through me, and has given us the opportunity to grow in peace and prosperity. Please share these things with us.
You are always welcome to visit my home in Waterloo, Iowa. And I hope some day to be allowed to vote so I can vote in favor of candidates that value families and not the separation of families.
My name is Monica Reyes and I’m a proud Iowan and a hard working DREAMER.
Monica Reyes is DACA recipient and co-founder of DREAM Iowa.