Iowa ‘Sanctuary’ City Ban Signed into Law

Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register, April 10, 2108

Iowa cities and counties that intentionally violate federal immigration law will have their state funding revoked under a bill signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds Tuesday.

Senate File 481 targets so-called sanctuary communities across the state and has drawn widespread debate in the Capitol and across the state. It takes effect July 1.

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Supporters say the new law will maintain public safety and uphold the rule of law, but critics argue that Iowa has no sanctuary cities and that the bill will only stoke racial fears that could fuel discrimination.

Republican leaders have said the legislation is in response to a policy adopted in Iowa City that says the city will not commit local resources to enforcing federal immigration law, as well as to similar policies in cities across the country.

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What’s required under the new law:

  • A “local entity” cannot “adopt or enforce a policy or take any other action” that “prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws.”
  • Local entities can’t prohibit or discourage law enforcement officers or other employees from “assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary, including providing enforcement assistance.”
  • Local entities can’t prohibit or discourage law enforcement or other officials from inquiring about the immigration status of a person who is under arrest, sharing that information with other authorities, or assisting federal immigration officers as reasonable or necessary
  • Local entities and their employees can’t ask about the national origin of a person who is the victim of a crime, witness of a crime or is otherwise reporting a crime unless it’s pertinent to the investigation.

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