Iowa governor signs ban on 'sanctuary cities'

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R)
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R)

Counties and cities could lose funding if they don't comply with federal immigration agents.

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 4:04 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 4:24 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law an immigration enforcement bill that bans so-called sanctuary cities.

The Republican governor signed the bill privately Tuesday. The news was tucked into a press release about 16 other bill signings.


Rita Bettis

The legislation will require law enforcement to follow requests from federal agents to hold a jailed person suspected of being in the country illegally. Local governments risk losing state funding if they don't comply with the law.

Attorneys say the provision could open the state to litigation. Community organizers argue the bill will lead to racial profiling.

Lawmakers who supported the measure called it a public safety issue. Reynolds highlighted the legislation in a gubernatorial fundraising email.

Rita Bettis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Iowa issued the following statement on the new law:  “Let’s be clear. It violates a person's constitutional rights for lowa law enforcement to hold them without a warrant or probable cause of a crime. But that is what ICE detainer requests ask Iowa law enforcement to do. That’s because ICE “detainer requests” are exactly that: an ask of local law enforcement to hold a person without a warrant or probable cause. As a result of this, we are deeply concerned about the passage of SF481 and will strive to defend the constitutional rights of Iowans against unlawful detentions.

Sanctuary cities is a catch-all label for jurisdictions that limit local involvement in federal immigration enforcement. Iowa doesn't have any sanctuary cities.

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