Branstad: We’re an empathetic country but we can’t take everybody

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says he is not immediately concerned that unaccompanied children, who have crossed into the U.S. along the southern border, would be sent to Iowa.

Branstad’s remarks came during his weekly news conference Monday, July 14, 2014. Branstad had just returned from a National Governors Association meeting, during which governors met with each other and with officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Branstad said some governors were concerned about the dramatic increase in the number of children entering the United States illegally.

“Many governors are disappointed that they have not been kept informed, that the federal government has failed to secure the border, and then they have placed students without the participation or knowledge of the governors in their states,” Branstad said.

“There has been no contact from the federal government to the state of Iowa about housing children here,” Branstad said.

Branstad’s remarks came the week after Davenport, Iowa Mayor Bill Gluba said he hoped the Quad Cities would play a role in helping to care for unaccompanied children who are detained after crossing the southern border into the United States. Gluba said a local plan to help would not come easy, but that it would happen through the “Caring Cities Campaign” and would not involve taxpayer money.

He said the balance between compassion and the constitution is delicate.

“We are a very compassionate people and we want to treat kids well…but just because we are an empathetic and supportive country, doesn’t mean that we can take everybody. People need to know there is a legal way to come to this country and they need to follow the rules,” Branstad said.

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