Welcoming City vs. Sanctuary City

Posted at 7:06 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 21:14:15-05

The City of Trees takes a stand in the debate over refugees. City of Boise leaders passed a resolution at Tuesday night's city council meeting, restating their role as a "Welcoming City."

Neighbors United, Idaho's administrator of the statewide resettlement program, was named in the resolution that unanimously passed. While the future of the program, itself, is up in the air right now, it was refreshing for the director to hear the city council members publicly announce their commitment to successful integration of refugees in Boise.

"I was very proud of my city council and very proud of my city because I think the city council took a very bold and very necessary step to make sure that people feel welcome," said Jan Reeves, director of the Idaho Office for Refugees.

The resettlement partnership dates back to 2009. City of Boise Spokesman Mike Journee said they have no plans to become a "Sanctuary City" and that the resolution has no legal bearing. Journee said it was merely an expression of the council's values.

Legal experts don't anticipate that any Idaho city will file for "Sanctuary City" status, meaning that a town officially adopts a law enforcement policy to not cooperate or enforce the federal immigration laws.

"There's no indication in this Boise Welcoming Resolution, or anything which I'm aware of in any other city or village in Idaho, that indicates that we intend to create a sanctuary war with the federal government inside the bounds of this state," said Dave Leroy, former Idaho Attorney General.

As for Reeves, he hopes things will soon return to normal at his office.

"[After the four month refugee freeze, hopefully] The process is cleared, the department of homeland security under the new administration is confident that the system is working as it should," Reeves said. "And, we begin to see refugees being resettled again."