Marshalltown Chief of Police Michael Tupper. Photo Hola America Archives
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By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio  

Law enforcement officials across Iowa have stated their support of protecting recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force is made up of police chiefs and county sheriffs across the United States. Following a recent federal court decision that declared DACA unlawful, almost all Iowa members of the task force have stated they support DACA, citing it as an important aspect of public safety. In written statements, six of the seven law enforcement officials on the task force emphasized how DACA has improved trust between immigrants and law enforcement.

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“Making DACA permanent — and pushing forward with commonsense immigration reforms — makes sense now more than ever,” Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said in a statement published by the Task Force. “Our communities will be safer and stronger if our representatives in Congress can work across the aisle to find permanent solutions that benefit Dreamers and all essential workers. It is time to act.”

The Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown appreciated their police chief’s support.

Task Force member Mark Prosser, retired Director of Public Safety in Storm Lake, also contributed to the statement: “These important members of our country are here by no fault of their own and they’ve done nothing but make our nation and cities better and stronger. I urge Congress to protect our Dreamers from any negative impacts from this court ruling and to quickly and legislatively solidify their legal status in our country.”

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Morgan Ryan, a spokesperson for the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force said most members in the country share these opinions, no matter political party or geographic location. She said it’s because their main goal is that everyone feel safe in their communities. Members are invited to the Task Force to purposefully ensure diverse membership.

Iowa’s members include:

  • Chief Chris Cole, Storm Lake
  • Chief Mike Tupper, Marshalltown
  • Chief Wayne Jerman, Cedar Rapids
  • Retired Director of Public Safety Mark Prosser, Storm Lake
  • Sheriff Brad Kunkel, Johnson County
  • Sheriff Kevin Schneider, Polk County
  • Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald, Story County

Jerman released his own statement that said DACA recipients are lawful and productive in their communities.

“The legal protections that DACA recipients receive make Cedar Rapids safer. Immigrants who fear deportation are less likely to report a crime committed against them. It is vital that all members of the Cedar Rapids community trust the police, and DACA helps reassure Dreamers that that they can contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department if they are a victim of a crime,” Jerman said.

The Polk County Sheriff did not offer a statement regarding DACA.

Due to the court decision, new DACA applications are not currently moving through the approval process, but current DACA recipients still have their protected status and can continue to renew. President Joe Biden has stated the Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision.

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As of March 2020, Iowa was home to an estimated 2,420 active DACA recipients. Nearly half are in the Des Moines-West Des Moines area.

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