DES MOINES, Iowa -- "People simply desiring a better life for themselves and their families are emboldened to take great risk, by lax border security, lack of enforcement of immigration laws, and sanctuary city policies that suggest the rule of law need not apply," said State Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, during his remarks on the floor of the Iowa House in support of Senate File 481.
Holt said it's not only the lives of U.S. citizens that are put in danger by laws that encourage illegality, as he put it, but also the lives of undocumented immigrants.
"How many human beings, just wanting a better life and the promise of America, end up as victims of human trafficking or die attempting the journey, as was found in Denison some 16 years ago?" he asked. "How is this humane?"
Senate File 481 seeks to strengthen enforcement of immigration laws, in part by mandating cooperation between state, local, and federal authorities. In fact, the bill says putting restrictions on enforcement of immigration law is prohibited. In section four, the bill says, "A local entity shall not adopt or enforce a policy or take any other action under which the local entity prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws."
While making his argument that this bill will make Iowa safer, Representative Holt cited statistics of crimes committed by those who are here illegally. That was something with which Representative Ako Abdul-Samad, a Des Moines Democrat, strongly disagreed.
"To paint a picture that was just painted in this chamber was so racist," he stated, going on to say, "we just stereotyped a race of people here and we did it in a way of passing a bill, talking about safety."