Despite strong opposition, legislation passed the Iowa House that would ban and penalize any form of a so-called “Sanctuary City”, even though no such “Sanctuary Cities” exist in Iowa. With only one Iowa organization supporting the legislation, the bill would crack-down on cities and counties who do not comply with federal immigration authorities seeking to deport immigrants who entered the country illegally or risk losing state funding.

Senate File 481, which was approved on a 55-45 vote, would ban local entities from crafting policies that prevent law enforcement officers and other local officials from inquiring about the immigration status of a person. State funding will be restored to local governments after a 90 day lapse if it rescinds any “sanctuary” policies.

After reaching out to multiple law enforcement professionals, GOP lawmakers crafted this bill without input or feedback from them. The bill also does not take into account the misplaced fear, perceptions and instability it could cause within local communities and families. Law enforcement are concerned that many crimes may now go unreported.

According to a new non-partisan fiscal analysis, the GOP bill could also jeopardize state funding to Iowa’s public schools. It would put educators and our schools in the middle of immigration enforcement activities that are best handled by law enforcement. This may also lead to an increase in property taxes to supplement being penalized for not complying with the new legislation.

The bill, as amended, goes back to the Iowa Senate for further consideration.