SF 481 – Quick Summary

What does SF 481 entail?:

  • This bill states it will “deny state funding” to any city that does not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement
  • Specifically, it forces local police to detain any undocumented immigrant if ICE issues a “detainer request”, even if the individual has not committed a crime and is not suspected of doing so either
  • It prevents cities from adopting policies that discourage government employees from inquiring about the immigration status of an individual and then sharing that information with ICE
  • It will allow any citizen or member of the public to file a complaint with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office if they believe a city is not complying with the above rules. If the complaint is determined to be founded, the state may then strip funding to this city.
  • It holds local governments and cities financially responsible for the detainment of individuals requested by ICE and further forces them to supply any resources, manpower, and time requested by ICE in the apprehension of undocumented individuals.
  • This bill contains two clauses which forbid officials from collecting immigration information from victims or witness of crimes and prevents them from “consider[ing] race, skin color, language spoken, or national origin while enforcing immigration laws”


Why is SF 481 problematic?:

  • By preventing cities from adopting pro-immigrant policies, it encourages and coerces local governments into adopting anti-immigrant policies, using its state funding as leverage
  • This may create communities that are unsafe for immigrants and other Latinx individuals by allowing for and normalizing racial profiling
  • Even local police unions are in opposition to this bill, as they fear that it will prevent immigrants from coming forward as witnesses and victims of crimes due to fears that they may be compelled to reveal their immigration status
  • This bill places undue financial burden on local governments by forcing them to fund the activities of ICE in their communities: every day it costs $50 to keep just a single individual requested by ICE in detention
  • This bill sews distrust and fear into communities. When any person that potentially observes noncompliance with the law can file a complaint and strip the community of vital revenue sources, it bullies communities into turning their backs on their immigrant friends and neighbors