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Iowa bill punishing ‘sanctuary cities’ headed to governor’s desk. But will any cities be affected?

April 5, 2018

Des Moines Register,

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April 4, 2018-

Iowa is the latest state in the nation attempting to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” passing a measure this week that will revoke state funding for communities that circumvent federal immigration laws. Following a contentious debate, the Iowa Senate gave final approval to Senate File 481 on Wednesday night. The bill cleared the House a day earlier. The bill now heads to Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, who is expected to sign it.

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. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 33 states considered legislation in 2017 that would ban sanctuary policies, and four passed them. In Iowa, Republican lawmakers pointed to the death of Sarah Root, a 22-year-old Council Bluffs woman who was killed in Omaha in a January 2016 car accident involving an undocumented immigrant. They said the bill is intended to prevent similar crimes.

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