The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Iowa’s new immigration law is a cause for concern

Iowa’s new immigration law raises concern about discrimination against its immigrant population.
Ayrton Breckenridge
The Iowa State Capitol is seen in Des Moines on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.

There has been significant recent controversy and criticism in response to actions taken by the state of Iowa regarding immigration to the U.S.

Iowa is now the second state to push against Biden’s immigration policies by creating its own exclusionary laws to be enforced by the local federal officers. In simple terms, Senate File 2340, criminalizes being in Iowa if a person has been previously deported or denied entry into the country.

The law gives state officials complete power to enforce their own immigration rules, which is considered unconstitutional and allows for unchecked racial profiling and stereotyping. These actions have ignited conflict between Iowa’s government and local immigrant rights advocates over immigration policies, discrimination, and constitutional rights.

Iowa lawmakers should prioritize protecting and supporting its immigrant population instead of promoting discriminatory laws that put vulnerable communities at risk.

The new law targets a minority group that makes up only 5.3 percent of Iowa’s population, according to the American Immigration Council. It’s unclear how state officials would enforce and fund the implementation of the law and it is expected to encounter legal opposition from civil rights groups, such as the ACLU, who oppose the new bill.

Despite this, concerns about the possibility of racial profiling and the radical breakdown of trust between law enforcement and communities persist, and advocates remain apprehensive about the law’s impact.

As reported by the Des Moines Register, the Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice group said “welcoming immigrants and refugees is the definition of what ‘Iowa Nice’ should be.” The law explicitly contradicts the values of Iowans. The state should rally around and protect a vulnerable group within its midst instead of promoting discriminatory, politically-motivated laws against immigrants.

According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants in Iowa account for “4.6 percent of entrepreneurs, 17.8 percent of construction laborers, and 15.4 percent of postsecondary teachers in the state.”

Furthermore, according to Iowa Legal Aid, the state heavily relies upon migrant workers to produce both agricultural turnout and profit.

Instead of creating exclusionary laws, Iowa should focus on implementing policies that promote inclusion, diversity, and equity. The state should work toward creating a welcoming environment for all its residents, regardless of their background, and ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities and resources.

It’s time for Iowa’s government to listen to the concerns of its residents and take steps to build a fair and just society that values the contributions of all its members, including immigrants and refugees.

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About the Contributor
Ayrton Breckenridge
Ayrton Breckenridge, Managing Visuals Editor
Ayrton Breckenridge is the Managing Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. This is his fourth year working for the DI.