- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) - Franklin County residents are questioning local law enforcement officials about a decision to revoke its sanctuary policy for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

More than 200 people attended a meeting in Hampton on Monday to raise concerns about Franklin County Sheriff Linn Larson’s decision to end a policy of not cooperating with federal authorities on immigration policy, The Globe Gazette (https://bit.ly/2lLcMG9 ) reported.

Larson made the change on Jan. 23, three weeks after he was sworn into office. The change came two days before President Donald Trump signed an executive order to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refused to comply with federal immigration law.

The new policy says the sheriff’s office will work with any law enforcement agencies that request assistance, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Larson said he changed the sanctuary policy because it forced him to “pick and choose” which law enforcement agencies to work with.

“I don’t have the right to make that determination,” he said.

People who attended the meeting wanted to know under what circumstances people could face deportation. They also expressed concerns about racial profiling in the northern Iowa county, which has a large Latino population.

Hampton Police Chief Robert Schaefer said nothing will change unless a person commits a serious crime.

Most immigrants living in the U.S. illegally aren’t a threat to safety, said Gunda Brost, an immigration lawyer from Cedar Rapids.

“We are living in an atmosphere of trust and fear,” Brost said. “Communities need to decide which side they are on.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa sent letters to sheriffs in all of the state’s 99 counties in 2014, telling them they weren’t required to honor ICE retainers without a warrant. Shortly after, more than 20 Iowa sheriffs, including Larson’s predecessor, said they wouldn’t honor ICE detainer requests without a judge’s order.


Information from: Globe Gazette, https://www.globegazette.com/

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