- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republicans in the Iowa House are seeking to force police and sheriffs’ offices to tell U.S. immigration officials when they have someone in custody who is living in the country illegally.

A measure proposed Thursday would prevent local governments from adopting policies or procedures that limit or restrict the enforcement of any federal immigration law. Iowa is among about a dozen states considering measures against so-called sanctuary cities, where local authorities have decided not to keep immigrants living in the country illegally beyond their court-ordered detention.

Immigration officials sometimes ask local sheriffs or police chiefs to hold suspects until they can arrive to pick them up for deportation proceedings, sometimes beyond their court-ordered detention time. In about 350 cities and counties nationwide local officials have refused to cooperate, saying it’s unconstitutional to hold a person beyond their sentence.

“It is important for the safety and security of our citizens that we enforce immigration laws, that we cooperate with the federal government in the enforcement of immigration laws and the deportation of those who are in our country illegally,” Republican state Rep. Steve Holt said.

He chaired a subcommittee Thursday that advanced the bill to a full House committee for consideration.

Pete McRoberts, a lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, said the bill is written in a way that would force local sheriffs and police chiefs to detain people in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

“I can’t see any way that this language here would not require sheriff to engage in practice 26 sheriffs have already determined is too costly for their departments to do,” he said.

Johnson, Linn and Polk counties are among those that no longer honor immigration officials’ requests to hold people beyond their court-ordered detention.

“This bill is basically saying law enforcement cannot turn a blind eye to someone’s immigration status if they’re here illegally and law enforcement can’t adopt policies prohibit them from sharing information with the federal government,” said GOP Rep. Greg Heartsill.

Democratic Rep. Marti Anderson voted against the bill.

“I’ve always been under the impression that immigration in this nation is the responsibility of the federal government. I’m hesitant to sign on to this bill,” she said.

Legislative leaders declined to discuss the bill’s chances for passage saying they haven’t reviewed the details.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide