Locals react to SF 481 passage

Chief Tupper: ‘It’s safe’ for all Marshalltown residents to call the police

Senate file 481, which requires local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration agencies, passed into law Tuesday with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature.

The passage comes after several weeks of debate on the bill. Proponents argue the legislation is needed to ensure that so-called “sanctuary cities” are not established in Iowa.

Those against the bill say it will have a chilling effect on trust between local law enforcement agencies and immigrant populations. The bill would see state funding pulled from departments that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

In Marshalltown, which has a relatively large immigrant population, several citizens and some officials have voiced concerns with and opposition to SF 481.

City residents like Maria González, an immigrant and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, Grant Sincox, Joa LaVille of Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown and others have expressed worry about the legislation.

Additionally, Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper has been outspoken against the bill. He argues that Iowa does not currently have any sanctuary cities, and that local law enforcement agencies, like the MPD, already fully comply with federal agencies.

“This is what we were expecting,” Tupper said of the bill’s passage Tuesday afternoon. “It’s unfortunate, but, from a law enforcement standpoint, we just want everybody to understand that this law does not make local law enforcement (into) immigration enforcement officers.”

He added the MPD plans to continue building and maintaining trust with all of Marshalltown’s community members.

“The Marshalltown Police Department is still committed to community policing efforts, and it’s safe to call the Marshalltown Police Department if you need help, or you can help us solve a crime,” Tupper said.

Marshall County Sheriff Steve Hoffman has also said his agency fully complies with federal immigration agents and agencies, as well as any other federal agencies that request cooperation.

The bill offers some protections for undocumented witnesses or victims of crime. While there is also a section prohibiting discrimination based on “race, skin color, language spoken or national origin,” residents like González and Sincox have expressed worries that the bill would encourage racial and ethnic profiling.

State Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, and state Rep. Dean Fisher, R-Montour, both voted for SF 481. State House Minority Leader Rep. Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, voted against the bill.

The new law takes effect on July 1.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com