In 2017, Rep. Chaney and Rep. Sage Dixon (R-Ponderay) introduced legislation to prohibit sanctuary city policies in Idaho.
A firestorm of criticism quickly erupted. Chaney pushed back on those who tried to blur the line between immigration and illegal immigration. There were extended negotiations with agricultural interests. One critique that seemed to gain momentum was that the legislation wasn’t necessary because there were no sanctuary cities in Idaho. Some went so far as to suggest that even the most liberal cities in the state wouldn’t be fool-hardy enough to adopt sanctuary city policies.
Dixon and Chaney’s efforts were ultimately defeated. Since then, several other legislators have approached Chaney with interest in picking up where he and Dixon left off. Chaney has been encouraging his fellow legislators, while also being completely candid about the legal complexity and political sensitivity of the issue. So far, the effort hasn’t been formally renewed.
Recently, a group of advisors prepared a list of recommendations for new Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. The document was termed a transition report for McLean’s fledgling administration. Among the recommendations:
- “[T]hat nobody released from custody be further detained for federal immigration
- That Boise “end local practices of inquiring about immigration status, collect immigration data or share immigration data with any person.”
- “[M]andate the Boise City Prosecution Team to consider the immigration consequences of convictions when making charging decisions.”
- That police “do not affirmatively inquire about immigration status” or share immigration information with anyone (i.e. ICE).
- Create a taxpayer-funded account to provide illegal immigrants “access to free, guaranteed access to counsel in deportation proceedings.
McLean quickly pointed out that the document’s recommendations were suggestions and not official policies. However, the report demonstrates that those guiding the rookie mayor would like to see Idaho’s capital city become a sanctuary city.
This all begs the question, is it time for Dixon and Chaney to try again?
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