Decorah State Representative Michael Bergan has voted against Senate File 481, a controversial bill related to the enforcement of immigration laws.
In his weekly newsletter, Bergan says, "The Senate bill raised several concerns for me, sheriffs, county attorneys and immigrants alike." He points out that several amendments to the legislation were approved by the Iowa House to improve safeguards for law enforcement officers and maintain the rights provided to immigrants. The bill requires local law enforcement authorities to follow the law by cooperating with federal immigration authorities, however,the bill is opposed by Winneshiek County Sheriff Dan Marx, who says immigration authorities should be required to show a warrant in order to detain someone—just as is the case with any other law enforcement agency.
Bergan says he agrees with Marx and voted against the final bill: "While amendments did improve the bill's application to local law enforcement, I agreed with Sheriff Dan Marx's opposition and concern of potential unexpected adverse consequences." The Iowa House voted 55-45 in favor of the measure, with five Republicans voting against it--Bergan was joined by Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant, Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids, Kevin Koester of Ankeny and Gary Worthan of Buena Vista.