Lawmaker says immigration action may prompt bill
DES MOINES (AP) — A Republican lawmaker said he would likely re-introduce legislation requiring state and local governments to cooperate with federal immigration officials if Iowa City opts not to enforce immigration laws.
Denison Rep. Steven Holt unsuccessfully filed a bill during the last legislative session that would have required local officials to work with immigration officers.
Holt said he’d feel compelled to introduce the bill again, this time in a GOP-controlled Legislature, if the City Council in Iowa City approves a resolution that prevents spending funds on enforcing immigration laws.
Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said the issue arose after the election of Donald Trump. During his campaign, Trump said he wanted to potentially deport millions of immigrants who were living in the U.S. without proper documentation. He also promised to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
City officials said they still won’t formally adopt the “sanctuary city” title, a term used nationwide to describe cities that have adopted legislation to limit local cooperation with federal immigration officials. City attorney Eleanor Dilkes is drafting a resolution that, if approved by the City Council, would prevent resources like local law enforcement from enforcing federal immigration laws, with the exception of a public safety threat.
“The function of local law enforcement has been to protect public safety,” Dilkes said. “We’ve never had a role in enforcement of federal immigration law, and this policy would simply confirm that.”
Holt said the city needs to abide by the law.
“We’re a nation of laws,” Holt said. “We don’t get to say, ‘OK we’re going to obey this one and we’re not going to obey this one’ simply because we don’t agree with it. That’s now how our country is supposed to work.”