DES MOINES – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said this morning that he would propose legislation based on a new Arizona Iaw that makes it a crime to be in the country illegally because Iowa must “put some teeth behind” its enforcement of immigration laws.
Arizona’s law, which is the toughest in the nation, makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local police to enforce federal immigration laws. It also requires anyone whom police suspect of being in the country illegally to produce an alien registration document, such as a green card or other proof of citizenship, such as a passport or a state driver’s license.
“Not only will I support Gov. Joy Brewer’s plan but I will pursue similar legislation in Iowa,” Vander Plaats said during an interview on WHO Radio’s Jan Mickelson Show. “What Arizona is doing is not just a reflection of what Arizonans feel but what Iowans feel, too. The federal government has proven inept and has shown no interest in dealing with the issue. It’s time for states to step up.”
Vander Plaats noted that Gov. Chet Culver’s actions are not commensurate with his rhetoric.
“Governor Culver is right when he says illegal is illegal, but we have to put some teeth behind it. He said we need to enforce current laws on the books but his administration is not doing that,” he said. “It began with his predecessor and he has continued the practice where they don’t refer to ‘illegal aliens’ but instead call them ‘undocumented immigrants.’ They are here illegally.”
For that reason, Vander Plaats said, he favors determining if an individual is in the country illegally if reasonable cause for suspicion exists.
“I’m not sure why we’d say let’s let them commit some other crime before we hold them accountable for being here illegally,” he said. “You also have to dry up the reason for them to be here in the first place: people that knowingly hire illegal workers.”
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