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Iowa City, Johnson County leaders respond to statehouse bill against 'sanctuary cities'

On Tuesday, Iowa Republicans criticized a 2017 Iowa City resolution, that re-emphasized the public safety, as the reason why sanctuary city legislation is being proposed at the state-level.

For Iowa City leaders, it is the residents, not immigration authorities that are a number one priority.

"Whether you are documented or undocumented, we are here to protect the safety of the community," said Geoff Fruin, City Manager for Iowa City.

On Tuesday, Iowa Republicans criticized a 2017 Iowa City resolution, that re-emphasized the public safety, as the reason why sanctuary city legislation is being proposed at the state-level.

"I certainly can't put words in their mouth...I don't know where they're coming from," said Fruin.

Last year's resolution passed by the Iowa City City Council clarified only the federal government can regulate immigration and local resources should not be committed to a federal task.

"The decision that the council made was to simply reinforce what we have been doing for decades in Iowa City and what we feel most cities across the country are doing," said Fruin.

Yet, a new bill headed to vote in the state Senate could make it so cities have to comply with federal authorities on issues dealing with immigration, as in Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

Johnson county, like Iowa City, does not mandate law enforcement comply with immigration authorities and argues this debate is outside the state's jurisdiction.

“Immigration is a federal issue, not a state issue," said Mike Carberry, Johnson County Supervisor.

Carberry said because law enforcement does not prioritize police citizens on immigration issues ensures all residents are comfortable reporting crime, and ultimately, improving public safety

"Because they are not afraid they'll get deported just on being a witness or on reporting a crime themselves," he said.

Both the city and county do not support the latest sanctuary city bill.

"If they pass this law, we don't think its constitutional, and we will fight," said Carberry.

However, Fruin does not think it will make a difference if passed.

"Nothing changes and frankly we don't think any state funds will be at risk," he said.


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