The Iowa Division of Latino Affairs met in Storm Lake over the weekend for a public hearing about issues facing the Latino population in Storm Lake and throughout the state.
Much of the discussion revolved around ways to improve access to Immigration and Naturalization Services for immigrants in remote parts of the state.
"Iowans need to put pressure on (INS). We need administration, not enforcement," said Elizabeth Salinas-Newby, director of the Division of Latino Affairs.
The group also addressed the tendency for new families in Storm Lake to stay for six to nine months to work, move back to their home countries for two or three months, and then return again to Storm Lake. Such moving patterns cause strain on the school district and local employers.
Hector Velez, IBP community liaison and city council candidate, said many immigrants in Storm Lake go through similar patterns of moving, with some families going between Storm Lake and their native countries three or four times before permanently settling in Storm Lake.
"They need a comfort zone with stability," he said. "That's starting to be provided for with the families we have here now."
Salinas-Newby echoed those remarks, stating the need for a support organization for immigrants ranging from unskilled labor to professionals.