UPDATE: Iowa City approves motion regarding federal immigrant en - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Iowa City approves motion regarding federal immigrant enforcement

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UPDATE: The city approved the motion unanimously during Tuesday's city council meeting.


The Iowa City City Council discussed the idea of becoming a sanctuary city during their work session Tuesday night.

"Sanctuary City" means different things to different places around the country but it generally means a place with policies designed to protect illegal immigrants.

It's an idea that has been very controversial, a variety of opinions have been emailed to the city council.

In addition to emails, the city clerks office has received numerous phone calls from people expressing their opinion on this topic.  

Around 50 people gathered Tuesday night to hear what the Iowa City City Council had to say about the idea of becoming a sanctuary city.

"I personally do not think we should formally declare Iowa City to be quote a sanctuary city," says Mayor Jim Throgmorton.

Many council members agreed with Mayor Throgmorton that it is not about the label.  

"I think all it is doing is drawing more attention to the community in a potentially negative way for the very people you are trying to protect," says Susan Mims, Council Member At-Large.

Instead, many council members agreed it's about the policy, one they are hoping to draft that would keep Iowa City from using local resources to assist in detaining an illegal immigrant.

Iowa City has not been asked to use local resources to assist in detaining an illegal immigrant before, but some say they are hoping to prepare for the potential future.

"In light of the robust, rhetorical posture that our president-elect has taken, how are we going to think forward and how are we going to respond and signal the posture that we wish to take," says Rockne Cole, Council Member At-Large.

Council members acknowledged they do not want to give a false sense of security because there are some instances they have no control over.  

"If you are arrested, end up at the jail, get finger printed we have no control. Those fingerprints do go to the FBI, they do go to ICE," says Mims.

The discussion tonight was pleasing to some in the crowd in favor of some sort of policy when it comes to illegal immigrants.  

"They are part of this community, they work hard, they pay tax and they are supposed to live like everybody else," says Mazahir Salih, with the Center For Worker Justice.

The policy would make it clear Iowa City law enforcement are for public safety not immigration control.

A draft of the policy would be brought in for further discussions and public comments, and then would need to be eventually voted on by the city council.

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