Two Republican lawmakers are asking Iowa’s governor to do what he can to deport illegal immigrants who are serving time in Iowa prisons.
Representative Steve Lukan, a Republican from New Vienna, says it’s time to step up pressure on federal officials who have refused to deport the prisoners. "This is a problem that’s been growing for some time. I think it’s a problem, obviously, Iowa should try to address," Lukan says. "I’m hopeful that working together with the legislature, with the governor’s intervention, we can get something done."
Lukan cites recent attacks on prison guards as one reason his level of concern has risen. "Unfortunately, it does appear — and it’s some speculation — but we do think there’s up to three different, like, gangs that have actually been forming within Iowa prisons largely connected to the illegal immigrant population," Lukan says. "If you look in the Anamosa Prison cases, for example, all three involved people, Latinos, and I think there is some correlation again with the illegal immigration issue."
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, says it is "extremely frustrating" that the feds are failing to deport illegal aliens who’ve broken our laws.
"One of the last stops I made as a state trooper — I thought it was a drunk driver left over from the night before. About six a.m. in the morning and he was just tired…going east into the sun and (there were) 25 illegal aliens in the van," Baudler says. "We held them for about four hours and INS — it’s ICE now — stated that they would not come and get them."
Baudler says it’s even more gauling to have federal agents refuse to send illegal immigrants who’ve been convicted of a serious crime back to their home country, rather than have them spend time in an Iowa prison.
"People that I deal with and the taxpayers that I hear from are extremely fed up with paying any kind of dollars out for these illegal entrants," Baudler says. "They want ’em deal with and sent back to their country of origin."
Baudler and Lukan also want state prison officials to re-introduce dogs into Iowa prisons to help guards control prisoners. A spokesman for Governor Chet Culver says the governor was in an all-day retreat with his department directors on Thursday and had not reviewed the letter Baudler and Lukan sent him outlining their concerns.