Iowa Going Rogue

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryI have been watching political events happening in Iowa with trepidation. Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynaulds signed into law legislation that will allow police in Iowa to arrest, detain and work with federal authorities to deport migrant and “illegal immigrants” entering into Iowa. The next question in my mind is how can state authorities tell who is a migrant and who is not? in my mind, what Iowa police will be doing is profiling people. If they look “white” they will probably not be targeted. If not………………………..

To put it mildly, this has a lot of Latino communities in Iowa concerned what could happen to them and their loved ones. But this new law, which will go into effect in July, could just as easily target Asians, African Americans, and anyone who does not look white. The parameters of what constitutes an illegal immigrant and what does not is very constitutionally problematic because innocent people who are not white might be coerced to produce paperwork they do not have, and find themselves hauled off to jail on a suspicion.

But this is only one dark measure of Iowa’s descent into hell. Governor Reynaulds two weeks ago had signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This act provides the rights of individuals to exercise their “rights” to their religious viewpoints without hindrance from the state or other entities public and private. There is a problem here; what if this “right” means that a private business believes it is their right to refuse a service to people of a different religion, no religion, gays and lesbians, or single mothers because they and their children are outside the religious notion of marriage? Could landlords throw single mothers and their children out of housing because of this? Could doctors refuse to provide medical services because patients might be of a different faith or no faith at all? Could bakeries refuse services to gay and lesbian couples because it violates their religious beliefs? What was very suspicious was how this act was signed in the first place. It was signed behind closed doors and witnessed by the conservative religious group The Family Leader. This law was supported by the Republicans and completely opposed by the Democrats in the Iowa State Assembly.

As if all of this is not bad enough, Iowa, like so many Republican states, also has an abortion ban. Abortions cannot be performed if a fetal heartbeat is detected after six weeks. In contrast, Illinois states that women have a fundamental right to abortion services and that a fetus, embryo or a fertilized egg do not have independent rights. In Illinois, science and not religion determines the right for all women to have medical healthcare no matter what it is. I must add that Governor Kim Reynaulds also signed into law the “right” for the banning of books deemed sexual in nature. This could include anything on gay and lesbian themes. In contrast, book banning is not allowed by the Illinois state government.

And there we have it. Iowa is being turned into a dark place for so many of its people. What I have mentioned above could not be a bigger contrast compared to Illinois. Yes, Illinois has its problems. Nevertheless, I would prefer to stay and live in Illinois. There is a difference between being able to get up, go out and do my job and care for my wife, and feel free from harm and arbitrary arrest and threats by state government, and what is happening in Iowa now. It almost seems like Iowa is turning into Afghanistan under the Taliban.

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