A member of the public at Monday’s Twin Falls City Council meeting suggested the city adopt an official policy saying it isn’t a sanctuary city, an idea to which a councilman responded by saying they should pass a resolution welcoming immigrants instead.
During the public comment period Terry Edwards, a Jerome resident who owns property in Twin Falls, read the Council a proposal for a proclamation he called “safe cities,” that would say city elected officials and police are sworn to uphold the law and state and U.S. constitutions and ensure public safety and security, says a declaration of Twin Falls as a “sanctuary city” would be inconsistent with this and encourages people to support law enforcement and upholding the law.
“Thank you for the information Mr. Edwards,” Mayor Shawn Barigar said when he was done. “We will take that under advisement and potential for future consideration.”
Idaho doesn’t have any “sanctuary cities” — that is, cities where there is an official policy of non-cooperation with federal immigration authorities — and local county jails honor immigration “detainers,” or requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold someone. However, local police are also not actively involved in immigration enforcement. Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, proposed a bill this year that would have banned cities in Idaho from not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The idea led to backlash from civil rights groups and the Hispanic community and the bill never got a full hearing even after he introduced a second version that didn’t go as far as the first.
However, a few cities in Idaho, including Boise and Ketchum, have passed resolutions over the past couple of months declaring themselves “welcoming cities.” This isn’t the same thing as being a sanctuary city — the resolutions don’t state any policy of not following federal law — but they do declare the cities as welcoming immigrants and refugees.
After Edwards sat down, Councilman Chris Talkington suggested Twin Falls should adopt a resolution like Boise’s and Ketchum’s.
“It’s one that has shown that Idaho has gotten a lot of bad press, that we are open communities, we welcome everybody, and it would be a step forward for Twin Falls to consider the welcoming community potential for a resolution,” he said.
“Thank you councilman,” Barigar said. “We will certainly consider having that on a future agenda.”