Refugee Services in Iowa

The Iowa Journal continues the tour of interesting topics around the state. This week we’ll be looking at two programs that are ending that have helped bring Iowa new residents the last 35 years.

Iowa has a long history of bringing refugees to this state, but this goes beyond immigration.

What will happen to services that help Iowans here now as part of immigration and refugee programs? Will they have the support they thought they would get to help adjust to life here in Iowa? What will their future be like in the state? Will those who’ve settled in Sioux City or Mason City still get support?

There’s part of this argument that says we shouldn’t be bringing anyone to the state if those Iowans here are already having trouble finding work. So, unemployment in Iowa plays a little role in this discussion as well.

Here’s our release for the show this week. This show airs Thursday at 8p on Iowa Public Television.

Refugee Services in Iowa
On the Thursday, February 25 edition
of The Iowa Journal

(Johnston, Iowa) –Thursday’s episode of The Iowa Journal will look at the end of critical programs that brought some 30,000 refugees to Iowa over the past 35 years. This program airs Thursday, February 25 at 8 p.m. It will be rebroadcast Friday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. on statewide Iowa Public Television and Saturday, February 27 at 8:30 a.m. on IPTV WORLD. It will also be available online at

The state’s long-standing commitment to providing sanctuary for refugees gave the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services a unique status of being the only federally funded, state-run refugee resettlement program in the country. The Bureau, and Lutheran Services in Iowa, two agencies responsible for settling the majority of international refugees in the state, will end their resettlement programs. The remaining refugee resettlement program, operated by Catholic Charities, is also re-assessing its program.

The next episode of The Iowa Journal will examine changes to refugee services. Guests on the program include: John Wilken, bureau chief, Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services; Jill Stuecker, director for the refugee resettlement program, Lutheran Services in Iowa; and Sol Varisco-Santini, program director of outreach services, Catholic Charities, part of the Diocese of Des Moines.

The program will also include interviews with members of The Peace Band, a group comprised of Iraqi refugees. The band members hope their music can help bridge cultural gaps.

For more information about The Iowa Journal, visit or call (515) 242-3146. For information on how to watch IPTV WORLD in your area, visit

For more notes on the show, click here to read more background on refugees coming to Iowa.


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