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Sanctuary City Ban Advances in House

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By: MacKenzie Dreeszen


HSB 67, the bill to prohibit sanctuary entities in Iowa, passed out of the House Public Safety committee on Tuesday. The bill was referred after a hearing last week by a subcommittee that was chaired by Representative Steve Holt (R, Denison), with Representative Jarad Klein (R, Keota) and Wes Breckenridge (D, Newton).

In his closing remarks, Representative Holt made it clear that this bill is about enforcing the law, not racism or exclusion.

“It is not a “right” to come to America if you are not a citizen of this country. It is not a “right” to break the laws of our country. Coming to America if you are not a citizen is a “privilege” extended by the citizens of America through their elected representatives creating immigration policy. It is the sovereign right of every nation to decide who comes to their country. With rights come responsibilities. One of the most basic of those responsibilities is to respect the law.”

The room was full of opponents to HSB 67. While they criticized the bill for being racist, Representative Holt countered their arguments.

“This bill has nothing to do with racism. This bill is color blind. If having a border and an immigration policy that controls entry into a nation for the purposes of security and economic prosperity is racist, then every nation on the face of the earth is racist. The rule of law is color blind. I believe that true equality under the law requires that the rule of law be enforced. Otherwise, there can be no justice for anyone, because we degrade into lawlessness. People have a right to immigrate legally to our country and state. They do not have a right to come here illegally and violate the laws of the United States of America. It is unacceptable that any citizen in the state of Iowa should be harmed or lose their life, or be put at risk as a result of a sanctuary policy that encourages illegality and illegal immigration into our communities. It is also important for the safety of those wishing to come to our shining city on a hill for a better life.”

Representative Holt shared the horrifying story of a group of illegal immigrants who were found dead in a boxcar in his hometown of Denison a few years ago. In an attempt to sneak into the country, they had concealed themselves in the boxcar. They died as a result of the extreme summer heat.

“A broken immigration policy and a belief that these families could successfully sneak into the U.S. drove these families to get on that boxcar. A breakdown of the rule of law in the enforcement of immigration policy contributed to this tragedy. Let us be careful that in our zest to help others, we do not unintentionally hurt them by contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law. For the safety of all Iowans, let us work to restore the rule of law by stopping sanctuary communities in Iowa.”

During the roll call vote, individuals started shouting one by one that the bill was racist. Several of them had to be removed from the room by state troopers.

HSB 67 passed through the committee by a vote of 12-9.