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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

GOP candidate’s call to microchip immigrants draws backlash

By Jason Hancock | 04.28.10 | 7:53 am

A Republican candidate for congress in Iowa’s 3rd District calling for microchips to be installed in immigrants in the country illegally is “absolutely appalling” and counter to everything Iowa stands for, several immigrants rights advocates told The Iowa Independent Tuesday.

Pat Bertroche, a GOP candidate for Congress in Iowa's 3rd District.

Discussing immigration policy on Monday, Pat Bertroche, an Urbandale physician and candidate for congress, told a Republican forum in Tama County, “I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal? That’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s a lot cheaper than building a fence they can tunnel under.”

Sandra Sanchez, immigrants voice program director for the American Friends Services Committee, said Bertroche’s comments “dehumanize other human beings.”

“I was really saddened to see a candidate for public office make such an irresponsible statement,” she said. “I talk to groups, congregations, schools all over the state, and I know a large majority of Iowans would be appalled by such an idea.”

In an e-mail to The Iowa Independent, Bertroche didn’t deny making the statement but said he never meant to suggest he advocates illegal immigrants be microchipped like dogs.

“First, I want to say that I was quoted accurately,” said Bertroche, who is one of seven men vying for the Republican nomination. “However, due to time, I was not able to complete my statement, which would have made it clear it was a critical social commentary on how inane and radical the discussion has become regarding the immigration issue.”

He went on to say, “I do not support micro-chipping humans. And I do not mean to compare illegals to dogs.”

Bertroche said he was comparing microchipping to other “radical ideas” he said have “all failed” around the world and throughout history, such as building bigger border fences, India branding “undesirables” and former President Reagan’s amnesty plan.

“At what point do we stop with the political ideologies and start discussing common sense solutions?” he said. “How many more boxcars full of dead immigrants do we need before we start addressing, in realistic terms, this tsunami of human slavery? How many more torn and broken families do we need before we agree to address, in practical terms, the magnitude of human misery created by illegal immigration?”

Alicia Claypool, chair of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, was not impressed with Bertroche’s explaination.

“It’s unbelievably inhumane to call for installing microchips to keep track of undocumented immigrants,” she said. “Flip-flopping the next day to say otherwise is not leadership nor a meaningful solution to the multiple issues involved in resolving our nation’s immigration challenges.”

She said it is clear he is “relying more on standard anti-immigrant diatribes than facts about immigrants or U.S. immigration policy.”

Sanchez said she is shocked that no one at the Tama County forum questioned Bertroche’s statements. If he wants to be a candidate, “he needs to become better informed, and an apology is the least he can do. He should apologize not just to immigrants, but to all Iowans.”

Marilyn Jean Hagedorn of Des Moines said she could not believe “a human being can speak about another human like Mr. Bertroche spoke of undocumented immigrants.”

“Do people leave their humanity at the border when they come to our country?” Hagedorn said. “Have you recently read the words on the Statue of Liberty?  Are today’s immigrants no longer entitled to the same respect, dignity and a right to feed their children — for that is the reason the majority come here — for a better life for their families.”

Sanchez said comments like Bertroche’s, coupled with the recent passage of the nation’s most strict immigration law in Arizona, have created serious concerns in the immigrant community.

“Our fear is that an irresponsible candidate will use this for political gain and create a divisive environment,” she said. “People need to stop using immigrants as a football for political gain, because it only creates an unsafe environment for people of color.”

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


Comments

  • RegularJoe

    Seems this kook doesn't understand what micro-chipping actually accomplishes. If your dog has a microchip and gets lost, when it turns up somewhere it can be scanned and identified even if collar and tags are not present. it does *not* enable someone to locate their dog via GPS or some such system.
    Bertroche is displaying his ignorance of the very technology he's trying embed in undocumenteds. Here's my social commentary ~ Batshit-crazy ignorant bigots should not be representing the good people of Iowa.

    • Dan_Kauffman

      @regular Joe that technology is not that far off I think I saw and add where swingline had rfd chip staples for use in locatinig documents

      • RegularJoe

        Regarding Swingline: from a nearby device. Check out http://gizmodo.com/240110/swingline-to-embed-rf…
        RFID chips are passive (non-powered) so require an electrical field to both power and signal them. They are very short range (meters). Tracking people would take powered systems (think cell phone size) to have the functionality Dr. Batshit is seeking.

        • Dan_Kauffman

          Which is why I said “not far off” it has been only a few decades since there was talk about MAYBE in time computers might be portable and they were speaking of something that could fit on a Semi-truck Bed a passive device that can be read from a far enough distance to make the scenerio feasible is just a matter of time research and engineering

          • RegularJoe

            Sure, and some day we'll have flying cars just like the Jetsons.Right now, however, the technology doesn't exist.
            So, sorry, but Doctor Batshit got it wrong….we don't live in the future, we live in the here-and-now. When the technology is feasible, he can come back with his proposal, we'll all call him a fascist bigot for wanting to implant chips just like the Nazis tattooed the Jews, and ridicule him some more.

  • cindravisser

    There is no logical defense for this statement regardless of how it was “intended” or taken out of context. Even if this man was referring to immigration issues in general and unwisely chose to use sarcasm in some abstract form, the essence of his statement categorizes immigrant people as a “thing.” This, in itself shows the ideological basis of this man's beliefs and one can only assume future intentions in representing Iowans in Congress.

    No more “us” and “them”. When you talk about immigrant people you are talking about all of us, because this person is my neighbor and friend and fellow Iowan. I, for one, will not tolerate such disrespect of my fellow Iowans.

  • miryamantunezdemayolo

    Since Dr. Bertroche is advocating unconstitutional and invasive procedures as a way to controll illegal immigration, I say we should vote to castrate him and people like him, since -for obvious reasons- they should not be allowed to reproduce.

  • jayarr8

    Perhaps it would be easier to micro chip ALL IOWA LEGAL residents. Much easier to organize and get done…while voting, or applying for a drivers license, for instance. It would be much quicker to find people who don't have embedded chips. Just set up surveillance monitors on cell towers.

    Wait a minute…wasn't that a key element in George Orwell's 1984 and a bunch of sci fi movies. Wow, the future of imprisonment has arrived.

  • jj3040

    This isn't going to win him any points with the “Left Behind” crowd.

  • miguelangeltinocorodriguez

    “THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. THEN THEY CAME for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. THEN THEY CAME for me and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  • enoughalready53

    Illegal aliens should boycott the United States by returning to Mexico.

    Let's cut the crap – if a person has no identification, then he or she is probably an illegal alien. Illegals must return to Mexico. There's no way around it.

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