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HomeGeneralNew Iowa Bill Leaves Migrants at Crossroads Over Possible Arrest and Deportation

New Iowa Bill Leaves Migrants at Crossroads Over Possible Arrest and Deportation

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A bill in Iowa has raised concerns among immigrant communities in the state. The bill would grant the state authority to arrest and deport certain migrants.

This development has heightened anxiety among immigrants in Iowa. Some are considering leaving the state due to the bill’s implications.

The legislation, anticipated to be signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, entails significant implications. It proposes to criminalize the presence of individuals in Iowa if they have been previously denied admission to or removed from the United States.

This aspect of the bill closely resembles a Texas law provision currently facing legal challenges. Latino and immigrant community organizations in Iowa are actively coordinating informational sessions and distributing materials to address concerns within their communities.

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ALSO READ: Texas Issues Warning That Migrants “Have Become Aggressive” to Border Patrol Agents

These efforts aim to provide clarity and guidance on the proposed legislation’s implications. Additionally, community groups are seeking official statements from local and county law enforcement agencies. Face-to-face meetings are requested to foster direct communication and address specific inquiries and anxieties.

At a recent gathering in a Des Moines public library, around 80 individuals convened to seek clarity on immigration-related concerns. Community organizer Fabiola Schirrmeister facilitated the event, fielding questions from attendees written on slips of paper.

One inquiry inquired about the safety of contacting law enforcement, while another questioned whether Iowa police could inquire about immigration status. Concerns regarding potential racial profiling and its consequences were also raised during the meeting.

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POLL — Should the U.S. Government Create a Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants?

Erica Johnson, executive director of Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice, the organization hosting the meeting, sighed when one person asked: “Should I leave Iowa?”

“Entiendo el sentido,” she said, meaning I understand the sentiment.

Schirrmeister, who hosts a local Spanish-language radio show, explained how long organizers have worked to build a bridge with law enforcement.

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“It’s sad how it’s going to hurt the trust between local enforcement, pro-immigrant organizations and the immigrant communities,” she said.

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert emphasized that immigration status does not influence the department’s efforts to ensure community safety. Wingert stated in an email to The Associated Press that incorporating immigration status into law enforcement activities would contradict efforts to eliminate bias.

ALSO READ: “Taxpayers Deserve Answers!” NYC Democrat Fumes As Migrants Claim Towed Cars Outside Shelter

“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,” he added.

In Iowa and across the country, Republican leaders have rallied around the refrain that “every state is a border state” as they accuse President Joe Biden of neglecting his responsibilities to enforce federal immigration law. That led Republican governors to send troops to support Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star and legislatures to propose state-level strategies.

Iowa lawmakers moved forward with the legislation to address concerns about the impact of certain migrants crossing the southern border. Republican Rep. Steve Holt described the measure as a response to a perceived threat to Iowans posed by some migrants. Holt acknowledged constitutional questions surrounding the bill but asserted Iowa’s authority to defend its citizens and sovereignty.

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