PERRY, Iowa -- As an immigration enforcement bill awaits Governor Kim Reynolds' signature, many law enforcement officials are thinking one thing, "It really is going to have a big effect," said Perry Police Chief Eric Vaughn.
The bill will prohibit sanctuary cities in Iowa. It also requires cooperation between state, local and federal organizations like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Vaughn said, "I try to explain to them that it is not local law enforcement's job. That is not the reason we are here."
For a city like Perry, which was thirty-five percent hispanic or latino during the 2010 US Census, Chief Vaughn says the bill creates a fear that is unwelcoming. "We've done a lot of good things in this community to build a good relationship with everybody in our community. We are just afraid this could be harmful to the work we've already done."
Looking to uphold law and order, hardworking police officers see a bill that could make finding justice more difficult. "The biggest concern I have is how it affects the citizens of our community and their ability or want to come forward to report criminal activity especially if they are victims or witnesses to crimes."
To some, the need for the bill seems out of place. Vaughn said, "I don't know that there is a community in Iowa that is a true sanctuary city right now."
Mow is a time that Chief Vaughn hopes Perry citizens can continue to do what makes their community embrace diversity. He said, "I've lived in this community for a long time. You gain relationships through work, friendships, coaching kids sports, things like that. I just don't want to see this deteriorate those relationships."
Governor Reynolds is expected to sign the bill into law. In February she sent an email to her campaign supporters which displayed her opposition to sanctuary cities and enforcing the laws that are already in place.