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In Iowa, a Tiptoe Approach to Illegal Aliens Nets Uneven Results

One state appears to be torn on how it deals with an influx of uninvited guests.

Good things continue to happen at the state level for Americans exhausted by the illegal alien crisis. But it should be more than sobering for anxious citizens to see local attempts to deal with a national catastrophe advanced in cautious and defensive terms. Recent events in Iowa show how challenging enacting serious state laws to combat massive illegal immigration can be.

“Iowa law enforcement would be allowed to arrest undocumented immigrants who were previously denied entry into the United States under a bill that mirrors a controversial Texas law and is on its way to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk,” The Des Moines Register reported March 19. “Senate File 2340 makes it a crime for someone to attempt to enter Iowa after being previously deported or barred from entering the United States.”

Undocumented. Controversial. The largest newspaper in The Hawkeye State has no problem telegraphing its disdain for the measure in the opening paragraphs of its ostensibly neutral “journalism” account.

The ‘Nuance’ Of Pushing Envelopes

“The bill’s floor manager, [Republican] Rep. Steven Holt, said the federal government has ‘abdicated its responsibilities’ to enforce immigration laws, which he said requires states to act,” the paper relates. “The status quo of federal government failure is unsustainable,” Holt asserted. “I believe that in order to protect our communities and our state, we must push the envelope. And that is what this legislation does.”

New Banner Border CrisisThat’s some tough talk. Alas, for those seeking action, the envelope pushing Holt promises appears to be more gentle nudge than bold shove.

“This is a nuance that maybe people haven’t noticed, but it’s sort of a second offense bill,” Holt explained after the legislation passed the House. “[Those subject to arrest] have to have already been identified as having been in the country illegally.” Note the almost apologetic tone. Holt wants to make it clear that if you are an illegal alien in Iowa who has never been confronted on your status before, you cannot be arrested under the proposed law.

There was more going on in the Iowa statehouse. Earlier in the month, two other anti-illegal immigration bills were killed in the GOP-controlled legislature.

“An Iowa House Republican bill that would have created a new state crime of human smuggling and penalized individuals who transport or harbor undocumented immigrants in some cases – a proposal that was opposed by advocates for charities and shelters – was stopped in the Republican-led Iowa Senate,” The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported March 14. There’s that word “undocumented” once again. Is there a single big-box newspaper in Iowa that uses the term illegal alien?

“And an Iowa Senate bill that would have required businesses to use the E-Verify program to ensure all employees are legal US residents – which was opposed by business groups – will not advance in the Republican-led Iowa House,” the paper added.

Annual Iowa Stumble

Even with Republican control of both houses of the state legislature, E-Verify is a hard sell in Iowa politics due to the plethora of commercial farms in the state that heavily rely on an illegal alien workforce. This should be especially painful to Iowans still haunted by a horrific murder that garnered national attention six years ago.

“The need for E-Verify in Iowa was particularly highlighted in 2018 by the tragic death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts at the hands of an illegal alien who had been working at an Iowa farm for years,” the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) stated in 2022. “Had his employer been required to use E-Verify, he might well have not been in the country at all.”

“Since Mollie’s murder, E-Verify legislation in Iowa has been introduced in every legislative session,” FAIR observed. “Disappointingly each time it has failed to get all the way through the process. In 2019, an E-Verify bill passed the Iowa Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives.”

Five years later, the same scenario played out again. The effort passed the Senate only to be scuttled in the House.

The failed anti-smuggling legislation was a further sign of timidity. As Liberty Nation has documented, Catholic Charities and other prominent religious NGOs are integral spokes in the highly organized human trafficking pipeline of illegals into the US. Just the mere thought that their operations might be placed in legal jeopardy by an anti-smuggling law was enough to frighten Republican backers of the legislation.

“[a]dvocates [for illegal aliens] had expressed concern that the bill could penalize charities and shelters that attempt to aid immigrants. Those advocates said they do not always know an immigrant’s legal status before offering them help,” The Gazette wrote. “House Republicans had attempted to address those concerns by placing in the bill language that said arrests could not be made at a church, shelter or school. And Holt said he had expressed a willingness to amend the bill to make the language more palatable to Senate Republicans.”

This palpable scent of backpedaling only further emboldens pro-illegal activists.

“No matter if you are a citizen or if you are a resident or you don’t have documents… obviously, we feel like it is unfair,” Manny Galvez, a board member for the organization Escucha Mi Voz Iowa, told ABC-5 TV in Des Moines March 20. He was referring to the re-entry bill. Allowing Iowa police to arrest repeat offender illegal aliens is an outrage, Galvez declared. “We are going to keep working, we are going to keep dreaming,” he said. “We have the right to be human. We have the right to be in Iowa, regardless of the hate.”

The committed supporters of illegal immigration are not the least bit afraid of publicly espousing their determination to flout the laws of this nation. It remains to be seen if state legislators who want to get a handle on this spiraling crisis can muster the same fierce determination.

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