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Effects of new 'sanctuary' law weighed

...City and county leaders across the state are deciding how — and whether — to comply with the law. After heated debate over the measure at the Capitol this year, Reynolds, a Republican, quietly signed it Tuesday.

...Included in the law is a provision that says that local officials cannot request information about a person's national origin if they are a crime victim or witness, as long as that information is not pertinent to the investigation.

Victim advocates worry that provision will do little to alleviate the fear that undocumented immigrants have when interacting with authorities and could prevent them from reporting crimes against themselves or others.

"They know, in essence, it’s still putting them on law enforcement’s radar," said Rebecca Stout, legal services coordinator for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "That’s a big ask of somebody who doesn’t have papers to say, 'Well, but you have to give all this information to law enforcement and trust that it’s going to be used in the appropriate way or in the way that the law intended.'"

Elizabeth Balcarcel, Iowa CASA's Latino services specialist, said the fear among the communities she works with is not just an abstract idea.

“We see it in our work and the daily work we provide, but also we can see every time we walk into church or walk into the store or engage in other conversations in the Latino community," she said. "There’s fear in all levels."

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