Iowa City Considers Adopting Sanctuary City Status

Jan 3, 2017

Iowa City is considering whether to formally declare itself as a "sanctuary city." There’s no legal definition for the term, but it generally means a municipality has implemented policies limiting its cooperation with federal immigration authorities

The city council and staff will discuss adopting such policies, as well as the formal title, at 5:00 pm this afternoon during a work session.

Mayor Jim Throgmorton says he’s not in favor of Iowa City formally clearing itself a sanctuary city.

"What’s most important is that set of policies and practices that we have in place," say Throgmorton. "Not the formal, symbolic designation. I don’t want to make our vulnerable residents feel more secure than they actually would be just by labeling the city 'sanctuary city'.”

Policies Iowa City might consider to protect undocumented residents from deportation include not inquiring about an individual's immigration status, and not allocating local resources to the enforcement of immigration law. 

Throgmorton says City Hall has received a number of hostile phone calls and emails from people who oppose the sanctuary city proposal, many from outside Iowa City. 

Because today's work session is just a discussion of the issue, no formal decision will be made. The meeting is open to the public.