Iowa advances bill banning ‘sanctuary cities’
Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa is set to become the latest Republican-led state to target so-called sanctuary cities by withholding money from local governments that don’t comply with federal immigration laws, even though the plan could lead to court challenges.
A bill outlining an expansive immigration enforcement plan is expected to receive final legislative approval this week. It comes as President Donald Trump ramps up calls for more stringent immigration enforcement.
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 late Wednesday. Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has indicated she would sign the measure, highlighting it in a fundraising email for her gubernatorial campaign.
Immigration activist Berenice Nava said she believes immigrants will be racially profiled.
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