An eastern Iowa mayor wants one of his city’s police officers dedicated to tracking down illegal workers. Marion Mayor John Nieland says local businesses would be targeted, too, if they hire illegal immigrants.
"They’re taking away jobs from your friends and your neighbors," Nieland says. Nieland is particularly concerned about undocumented workers landing jobs with local construction companies.
"People keep hiring them and if you didn’t hire them, there would be no problem," Nieland says. Nieland wants the City of Marion to hire a new police officer, send that officer away for five weeks of training so they can be deputized as a U.S. Marshal with the authority to investigate complaints about undocumented workers.
Nieland says he’s getting positive reviews from lots of places, including praise from a union worker in the construction trades who’s seen illegal immigrants hired to work for cheaper wages. Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee Clancy, the president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, says Nieland’s crackdown could jeopardize efforts by many area businesses to create a "welcoming environment" for workers from different cultures.