Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Nebraska governor predicts Arizona-style immigration laws in every state

By Elise Foley | 10.04.10 | 9:25 am

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, a longtime supporter of strict immigration enforcement, has made pushing for Arizona-style immigration legislation a central part of his re-election campaign. He argues copycat bills will spring up all over the country when state legislature return next year, telling The New York Times, “Next January I believe in every state in America there will be an Arizona-type law introduced.”

Heineman, like Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, has seen a huge upswing in popularity based on his support for keeping illegal immigrants out of the state. He was an underdog when he first ran for governor, and was even expected to lose in the primary this year, according to the Times. But he doubled down on anti-illegal immigration sentiment and is now favored to win a second term.

Anti-immigration policies can be a sound political move, given that most Americans support efforts like Arizona’s law to keep illegal immigrants out. Legislators in states including Colorado, Utah and Tennessee have visited Arizona to talk to lawmakers about creating similar legislation in their states, while conservatives in at least 22 states have stated support for bills in the next legislative session.

In Iowa, despite ruling out an Arizona-style law before the primary, GOP gubernatorial hopeful Terry Branstad has come out in favor of forcing all immigrants to prove their citizenship at traffic stops. He has since gone further, publicly saying illegal immigrant children should be denied public education.

But such legislation has a high cost, particularly because the federal government has indicated it will act against states that attempt to preempt its powers to enforce immigration. Arizona faced considerable fallout from its immigration law, including multiple lawsuits, economic boycotts and a weakened tourism industry. Even if the laws in other states are not challenged by the government, there’s a price for upping immigration enforcement: Police staffs may need to be trained, jails may be more crowded and additional police may need to be hired.

The Democratic challenger in Nebraska, Mike Meister, told the Times that Heineman is “pandering to the lowest common denominator” with a proposed bill that is “obviously unconstitutional.” He made an economic argument against the bill, claiming it would likely spur a federal lawsuit. Democrats in other states have made similar arguments against copycat Arizona legislation.

The problem of copycat legislation could be eliminated if Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., specifically addressed the issue of state immigration enforcement in the reform bill they introduced last week, which they hope to take up during the lame duck session or use as a framework in the next Congress. Their bill clarifies that immigration enforcement is in the hands of federal authorities unless specifically granted to local law enforcement agencies under the 287 (g) program, which allows some police to be trained to enforce immigration.


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