- Associated Press - Friday, February 3, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa legislative panel has approved a bill to restrict the state, cities, counties and universities from enacting policies that prevent them from helping to carry out federal immigration laws.

The legislation prohibits enacting so-called sanctuary cities, which are municipalities that have adopted policies limiting local cooperation with federal immigration officials in some way, The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2k3WMdK ) reported.

About two dozen people attended a hearing Thursday to speak in opposition to the bill. No one, except for two Republican lawmakers who voted to advance the bill, spoke in favor of the changes.

“This bill is coming from thousands of Iowans who are demanding that our immigration laws be enforced,” said Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, who led the three-person subcommittee. “And it is not mean-spirited or racist to enforce the law. This bill was not aimed at any community. It is aimed at enforcing the rule of law.”

The proposed legislation says the state, cities, counties and public universities can’t enact policies that prohibit law enforcement officials from gathering information regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status, direct law enforcement agencies not to gather that information and prohibit the communication of that information to federal law enforcement.

Iowa City recently adopted a resolution that would prevent city resources from being used to enforce federal immigration law unless there’s a public safety threat.

“While the bill is ambiguous in a number of respects, Iowa City’s recent reaffirmation that city resources will continue to be used for public safety and not the enforcement of federal immigration law … would not be affected if this bill were to become law,” Eleanor Dilkes, city attorney for Iowa City, said.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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