Senate Passes ‘Sanctuary City’ Immigration Bill Despite Protests from Democrats

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Senate Democrats are reeling after a surprise bill made it’s way to the floor Wednesday night.

SF 481 or the “Sanctuary City Immigration” bill was approved 32-15.  The bill would allow federal I.C.E officials access to local law enforcement officers. They could take part in I.C.E activities like raids and detainment. If they decline, lawmakers could withhold state funding from declining agencies.

Republicans and Democrats couldn’t be further apart on their interpretations of the bill's intent.

“There are difference of opinions with a conservative Republican and liberal Democratic of course,” said Senator Julian Garrett, “We think the law should be followed and should be enforced. They actually don’t seem too, they think it’s o.k., I guess.”

Senate Democrats are on the other side and say this is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment.

“What this bill does is lowers the standards and it holds people unconstitutionally,” said McCoy.

They also can’t agree on whether or not the bill would make the state safer.

“The biggest benefit is that it would be removing some criminals from the state,” said Sen. Garrett.

Democrats in the Senate think it will do more harm than good if the law enforcement roles of local police officers were expanded.

“It puts communities at risk because people feel like they can’t go to police to report crimes, even if they are victims of crimes,” said Sen. McCoy.

“What this bill does is requires the local officials to cooperate with ICE and the vast majority of them already do,” said Senator Garrett, and local police like that.

Democrats disagree and say it will hard for the state to get local law enforcement agencies to comply.

“They’ve been opposed though all the counties and all the law enforcement agencies throughout the state,” said Sen. McCoy/

Even though it passed through the Senate it will not be taken up by the House this session.  It could always return next session.