Iowa City Seeks to Become More Immigrant Friendly

The city council of Iowa City recently met with the municipal Human Rights Commission to discuss the commission’s nine recommendations for how the city can best serve its immigrant population.

The commission suggested the council pass a “Safe City for All” ordinance to clarify the extent to which city employees will enforce federal immigration laws. For a model, the report pointed to a Minneapolis ordinance stating the city cooperates with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other immigration enforcement agencies, but “does not operate its programs for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws.”

Other recommendations include increasing the city services most utilized by immigrants and enhancing training for city employees regarding what identification they can ask for in various situations, such as when a resident is stopped for a traffic violation.

City council members seemed supportive of some recommendations, such as clarifying what forms of identification municipal employees can request, while they questioned others, including a recommendation that the city call on the federal government to enact immigration reform, the Iowa City Gazette reported.

In August, U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the Iowa Straw Poll following a Republican Party primary debate in Ames. She has taken a hard line on immigration reform and sponsored a federal bill to make English the official language of the United States.