Archive for  January 9th 2019

Home / January 9th 2019
2 Posts

DES MOINES, Iowa — No matter what President Trump says about building a wall, immigrants here in Iowa say a wall will not stop more immigrants from fleeing desperate situations in search of opportunity.

“I did come in the way people are trying to get here are at this time. I was one of the fortunate ones that were able to make it here, and I did go through the path of becoming a U.S. citizen here in the states,” immigrant and Iowa resident Claudia Morales said.

Morales came to Iowa from Guatemala when she was six years old in 1994. After visiting her relatives later in life, she says she understands why Latino immigrants still continue to come to the United States.

“Everybody is so afraid to go out. They have so many people that just show up dead on the streets because the danger there is real. So then people don’t like that anymore and they try to better themselves and provide their children somewhat of a better life,” Morales said.

Five percent of the people who live in Iowa are immigrants, according to a report from the Hispanic Institute. The report examines just how much immigrants have impacted the state and economy.

“Immigrants rebuild economies, take on work that others may not want to take on and provide billions of dollars of buying power. When we look at the immigrant population here in Iowa, immigrants have $3 billion worth of buying power here in Iowa. When we look at Nevada, it’s over $10 billion. So we need to look at that and realize how much Latinos and immigrants are doing,” LULAC Council 307 President Joe Henry said.

Morales said she is saddened by the hatefulness toward her family and other immigrants that has significantly increased over the last few years.

“Just because you have a different skin color, [it] does not make you a rapist, a murderer or someone that’s here to take your jobs or that are here to threaten you,” Morales said.

She said there are two things she would like others to do whether they support immigrants or not, and that is do research and have a conversation.

“Whether we build one wall or 20 walls, it doesn’t matter. People that are looking for a better place will find a place to come here. That’s never going to go away,” Morales said.

The report also states, “The Latino population here in Iowa continues to grow and is expected to increase to 13 percent of the state’s population over the next 30 years.”

WAUKEE, Iowa — For Patrick O’Bryan, a mild winter in Iowa means hitting the Raccoon River Valley Trail much earlier than usual.

“A perfect day for a January ride in Iowa,” said O’Bryan.

From the trail head in Waukee, northwest to Jefferson and a dozen more communities west of Des Moines, its 89 miles takes users on a scenic joyride through 14 communities and three counties.  O’Bryan said, “It is absolutely beautiful.”

Unlike most other trails, users here are not supposed to just hop on and enjoy the Raccoon River Valley Trail freely.  Mike Wallace, executive director of the Dallas County Conservation Board said, “It is $10 a year or $2 a day, so not a lot but the little amount brought in does help significantly.”

Like January temperatures in the 40s, users say the help is noticeable.  Greg France, another RRVT trail user and salesperson at Bike World in West Des Moines said, “It is to keep those trails in nice shape.  The $10 goes 100 percent to the various counties that the trail goes through for trail maintenance.”

It goes toward maintenance for pot holes, cracks and overgrown vegetation.

“Sometimes it can be dangerous. Sometimes it can cause damage, so maintaining our trails are just as important as maintaining our highways,” France said.

They are issues most people are proud to pay for rather than see it deteriorate. “They blow all the debris off the trail which makes it extremely nice,” O’Bryan said.

If users weren’t able to purchase a permit ahead of time, yellow tubes are placed throughout the trail system containing daily and annual passes with a receipt included. While not strictly enforced, authorities are patrolling making sure fees are paid in full.

“It’s not like they are going to throw you against the side of their truck and frisk you for the money, but I’ve seen them collecting two dollars from people,” said France.  It is a fee that creates a cycle every year of paying it forward says France, “They appreciate the quality of life that our biking trails bring to our area.”

You can fill out a permit form at any of the trail head locations or Bike World stores.  Users 17 years old and under are free.