18 June 2018

Iowa Bans "Sanctuary Cities"

Sanctuary No More
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed legislation recently banning sanctuary city policies in the State of Iowa.

Senate File 481 directs state law enforcement agencies to fully comply with detainer notices issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and bars local entities from adopting or enforcing any policy that "discourages the enforcement of immigration laws."

Critics say it would essentially allow racial profiling, but Republican lawmakers frame the measure as a public safety policy. Republican Rep. Steven Holt of Denison, a western Iowa community with a growing Latino population, said the bill focuses on immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission who are suspected of crimes.

"This legislation is about the rule of law, and the safety of all people, citizens and immigrants alike," Holt said shortly before the Iowa House approved the bill Tuesday on a 55-45 vote, with one Democrat voting for it and five Republicans against it.

The legislation was being debated in the Republican-controlled Senate last 4 April 2018. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has indicated she would sign the measure, highlighting it in a fundraising email for her gubernatorial campaign.

Iowa has no sanctuary cities, though some communities and schools have varying guidelines on how to handle immigration related issues. School districts in Des Moines and Iowa City, for example, have adopted policies directing immigration enforcement requests to be funneled to their superintendents' offices.

Under the Iowa legislation, a local entity — such as a city and county government — would lose state funding if they adopted policies that prohibit or discourage the enforcement of immigration laws.

Law enforcement agencies would have to comply with requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold a jailed person 48 hours after they would otherwise be detained.