Democrats who control the legislature’s debate agenda are shelving a bill that would have given local law enforcement more authority to detain illegal immigrants. Ross Loder, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says some law enforcement officials fear the added responsibility would hinder their investigations.
"If we go into a community and we’re investigating a sexual assault or murder, we might have to go in and win trust (and) maintain trust from people who may or may not be legally present in the country," Loder says. According to Loder, there’s a long waiting list for the training that’s necessary to get local law enforcement qualified to deal with illegal immigrants, and there’s no extra money in the budget either to pay for the training or the extra costs associated with processing illegal immigrants.
Representative Doug Struyk, a Republican from Council Bluffs, says he signed up to support the bill after officials in his area were forced to release 14 illegal immigrants because federal authorities were too busy to book them. The bill would have given state officials the right to seize the assets of illegal immigrants as reimbursement for state services, too.