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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

Over 250 march to IC City Hall to protest new Iowa immigration law

The protest was one of several across the state protesting a new Iowa immigration law.
Cody Blissett
Demonstrators march towards the Iowa City Council Building during a rally in downtown Iowa City on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. A couple hundred demonstrators gathered to protest a new Iowa law that permits state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.

More than 250 Iowa City area residents and members from Escucha Mi Voz and the Catholic Worker House marched through downtown Iowa City Wednesday evening to protest a new Iowa law that permits state and local police to enforce immigration laws. 

The protest was one of four similar marches across the state including one in Des Moines. Organizers estimate a total of 2,000 Iowans participated in the four marches on Wednesday evening. 

The crowd marched through the streets shouting “Somos familia, no somos criminales” which translates to “we are family, we are not criminals” and holding signs that said “no human is illegal” and “keep families together.” 

The protest started at College Green Park mere blocks away from Iowa City’s City Hall as Mayor Bruce Teague joined the crowd in a march down Iowa Avenue to the Pentacrest and then down East Washington Street to the steps of City Hall. 

The march was in response to a new Iowa law that allows state and local law police to enforce immigration laws. Senate File 2340, makes it a state crime for an individual to reenter the U.S. after being removed via deportation. It would allow a state judge to order the individual’s removal to a port of entry. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill, which passed each chamber of the Iowa Legislature with only Republican support, into law on April 10

Texas passed a similar law in 2023 but was later blocked by court battles between the state and the Biden administration on whether states have constitutional jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws. 

Manny Galvez, one of the organizers of the event, said the law will not make Iowa’s communities safer, instead, it sends a message of hate to the immigrant communities across the state. 

“We are not going to be afraid no matter what is said,” Galvez said. “Hate is never going to win. Love is the answer.”  

In a statement following her signing the bill into law, Reynolds said the bill was necessary due to what she saw as the Biden administration’s failure to enforce federal immigration law at the southern border. 

Teague spoke following the march offering his solidarity with the community and committing to standing with them as they face down the barrel of this law. 

“When I look at each one of you — this nation is for all of us,” Teague said to the crowd in front of city hall. “I stand here in solidarity with you all today — not just today, but always.” 

Teague read aloud a mayoral proclamation reaffirming the city’s commitment to continuing to be a welcoming city for immigrants. 

“Whereas Iowa City reaffirms its commitment to protecting the rights, dignity, and safety of all immigrants including refugees, asylum seekers, and undocumented individuals and oppose any policy that seeks to undermine their humanity or civil liberties,” the proclamation read.

Maureen Vasile, of Iowa City, volunteers frequently at the Iowa City Catholic Worker House, which works frequently with immigrants and refugees. She attended the march on Wednesday evening to show that she stood with Iowa City’s immigrant community. 

“I think it’s ridiculous that they make these laws and don’t even know the people, what they’ve gone through, or what their names are,” Vasile said. 

One speaker, during an open mic at the end of the march, said that members of the community should speak with their vote this November. 

“2024 is an election year and we all remember who are the people who voted in favor of this law,” Miriam Alarcon Avila, of Tiffin, said. “With our vote, we can make a change.” 

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.