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Iowa Bill Targeting Migrants Leaves Them Anxious As It Passes the House With Overwhelming Majority

Iowa Bill Targeting Migrants Leaves Them Anxious As It Passes the House With Overwhelming Majority
Source: KCAU-TV Sioux City/YouTube

Iowa Bill Targeting Migrants Leaves Them Anxious As It Passes the House With Overwhelming Majority

Source: City Channel 4 -Iowa City/YouTube

A proposed bill in Iowa is causing worry among immigrant communities, making some wonder if they should leave the state. The bill, likely to be approved by Governor Kim Reynolds, would let Iowa arrest and deport certain migrants.
It says that if someone were denied entry to or removed from the United States before, it would be illegal for them to be in Iowa. This part of the law is similar to a law in Texas.

The Iowa Bill

Source: KCAU-TV Sioux City/YouTube

The bill under consideration in Iowa is SF 2340. On March 19, the Iowa House approved it with 64 votes in favor and 30 votes against.
The bill is described as “An act relating to illegal reentry in the state by certain aliens, prohibition on arrest in certain locations, orders to return to a foreign nation, immunity from liability and indemnification for enforcement actions, sentencing restriction, and providing penalties.”

Migrant Groups Are Trying to Help

Source: KCRG-TV9/YouTube

Throughout Iowa, organizations representing Latino and immigrant communities are coming together to host informational sessions and distribute materials to address people’s concerns. They are contacting local police, requesting official statements, and arranging face-to-face meetings.
About 80 individuals recently gathered in a community room at a public library in Des Moines. Community organizer Fabiola Schirrmeister facilitated the event.

The People Have Questions

Source: Pexels

One question, written in Spanish, asked: “Is it safe to call the police?” Another asked: “Can Iowa police ask me about my immigration status?” And: “What happens if I’m racially profiled?”
Erica Johnson, who serves as the executive director of the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, let out a sigh when someone at the meeting asked, “Should I leave Iowa?”

Bridging the Gap With Law Enforcement

Source: Iowa City Public Safety/Facebook

Some people who support immigrants are worried that this law might ruin the trust between Spanish-speaking communities and the police. This trust took a long time to build.
Schirrmeister, a Spanish-language radio show host, tried to explain the efforts made by organizers to establish a connection with law enforcement. “It’s sad how it’s going to hurt the trust between local enforcement, pro-immigrant organizations, and the immigrant communities,” she said.

The Des Moines Police

Source: KCCI/YouTube

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert assured the Associated Press that immigration status wouldn’t affect the department’s actions. He said the department’s primary goal is to ensure community safety.
Wingert stated that it would go against their efforts to eliminate bias if they started considering immigration status. “I’m not interested, nor are we equipped, funded, or staffed to take on additional responsibilities that historically have never been a function of local law enforcement,” Winger said.

Opponents Voiced Their Concerns

Source: KCCI/YouTube

Critics of SF 2340 believe that the bill is too broad in its reach. They would rather see immigration issues handled at the national than state levels.
“Immigration, with all of its nuances and implications, is a national issue that demands a cohesive federal response,” Democratic representative Sami Scheetz said. “Attempting to address it at the state level not only oversteps our bounds but also risks fragmenting our approach to a challenge that affects every corner of our nation.”

They Argue that Deportation is Dangerous

Source: KCRG-TV9/YouTube

Critics of state-level deportations highlight the dangers and challenges involved in the process. Immigration law expert Huyen Pham from Texas A&M School of Law pointed out issues with implementing and enforcing the Iowa bill.
Pham stated that immigrant deportations are complex, costly, and often dangerous federal procedures.

Whether or Not the Bill is Constitutional

Source: We Are Iowa Local 5 News/YouTube

SF 2340 takes inspiration from a law recently enacted in Texas, which has faced legal challenges regarding its legitimacy. The legal status of Texas law has been held up in the court system. Eschucha Mi Voz Iowa, an immigrant community organization, stated that the law is unconstitutional.
“We will continue to fight this unconstitutional law during rulemaking, in the courts, and on the streets,” said the news release. “We will continue to organize to stop deportations, protect refugee children, and keep families together.”

Supporters of the Bill Responded

Source: Iowa Press/YouTube

Supporters of the bill, like Representative Steve Holt, the bill’s floor manager, argue that although previous state laws regarding illegal immigration have been invalidated. He is optimistic that the Constitution provides a basis for such measures.
Holt points out that while the Texas law has been stalled in court, the Supreme Court allows it to be enforced while making its final ruling. Holt insists that states have a right to “repel invasions.”

The Legal and Illegal Migrants

Source: KXAN/YouTube

Holt stresses that the bill’s critics don’t know the difference between being a legal and illegal immigrant in America. He says this legislation is necessary to slow the invasion of illegal migrants into the state.
“Yes, there are many in our country and our state illegally who just came here for a better life. We know that,” Holt said. “But there are also gang members, drug dealers, and terrorists who are here endangering our citizens. We know that too.”

Iowa Governor Has Issued a Statement

Source: Iowa's News Now/YouTube

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has indicated her intention to sign the bill. She states that states must take action where the Biden administration is perceived to be failing.
“President Biden and his administration have failed to enforce our immigration laws and, in doing so, have compromised the sovereignty of our nation and the safety of its people,” Reynolds said.

States Are Protecting Against the Influx of Undocumented Migrants

Source: Operation Lone Star/YouTube

“States have stepped in to secure the border, preventing illegal migrants from entering our country and protecting our citizens. Americans deserve nothing less. I look forward to signing SF 2340 into law,” the Governor added.
The bill passed 64 to 30, with three Democrats joining Republicans in support and one Republican siding with most Democrats in opposition. If the bill is signed into law, it will become effective on July 1.