DES MOINES: RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), the largest legal service provider to undocumented immigrants in Texas and one of the largest in the country, Monday installed protest-art cages throughout Des Moines.
The cages had fake doll-like children inside covered with mylar blankets, symbolizing the children jailed in detention along the border and throughout the country.
Each cage included a #DontLookAway sign and played an actual recording from a child who was kept in detention.
“The horrors at our border and throughout our immigration system are too often ignored by the public and politicians,” said Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES. “We’re asking people in Iowa and across the country: Don’t look away from the terrors enacted in your name. Don’t look away from the kids in cages, the asylum-seekers turned back at our border, the deportation raids destroying communities across the country. This anti-immigrant crackdown has to end.”
Most of the protest displays were removed by noon Monday at the behest of the Des Moines Police Department, RAICES advocates said in interviews.
But one remained on church property at the Unitarian Church on Bell Avenue.
“The City of Des Moines enjoys the privilege of hosting and participating in Iowa’s ‘first in the Nation’ caucuses, and has a long history of supporting the expression of differing opinions and accommodating the right to lawful protest,” The Des Moines Police Department said in a statement. “Keeping with that spirit, the Des Moines Police Department welcomes this piece of the political process, however we would like to request that when placing items to promote political agendas, candidates, or expressions of opinion, please consider not abandoning these items on public sidewalks or other public property.”