Des Moines County’s Des Moines City Council votes to end city’s controversial ‘sanctuary’ policy
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Des Moines city council on Tuesday voted unanimously to end the county’s controversial “sanctuary city” policy, which has allowed some immigrants to stay in the United States without being deported.
The resolution by Des Moines Mayor Jim Steffens called on the city to withdraw its “sanctuaries” designation, which allows cities to temporarily shield undocumented immigrants from local police and federal immigration authorities.
A similar resolution was approved in January by the city’s Republican-led council.
The sanctuary city policy is used by many other cities across the country.
Des Moines, home to about 7,000 people, was among the first to declare its policy in February.
Its new policy requires police to ask people about their immigration status if they suspect they might be in the country illegally.
It allows some of the city�s undocumented residents to remain in the city.
The policy was designed to reduce crime in the county, which is heavily Hispanic.
City Councilman Dan Boesch said that in addition to helping the city reduce crime, sanctuary cities also have a benefit for Iowaans.
The city has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, he said.
“We�re seeing a lot of new families coming in to Iowa and they want to get to know each other and they�re looking for some stability,” Boesclos said.
He said the city would also lose $100,000 in revenue if it withdrew its sanctuary status.
The city council voted 6-1 to rescind the sanctuary city designation, saying the county was no longer in compliance with state and federal laws.
A hearing on the resolution is scheduled for Monday.
The Des Moines Police Department said Tuesday that it�s reviewing the resolution and would evaluate its next steps.
The county attorney�s office said it could not comment on the issue until a final decision is made.
State Rep. Brian Zalewski, a Republican from Des Moines and one of the leaders of the resolution, said Des Moines should follow the law and protect its citizens.�I think the city should follow federal law,� Zalawski said.
�I think that�s what we need to do here in Iowa.�The Deseret News, a news service owned by the Mormon church, said in a statement that the city has an obligation to protect the sanctity of its borders.
It also said the sanctuary policy �has not worked for the citizens of Des Moines.�In April, Des Moines police released a video showing officers asking a young Latino woman to unlock her car window and take her fingerprints.
The woman declined.
The video has been viewed more than 3 million times.
The mayor of Des Lake, Illinois, said he would not oppose a resolution like the one endorsed by the Des Moines council.
He told the Deseret newspaper he had been asked by members of the community to support it and said he had no plans to rescind it.