Safe City Resolution Proposed by Ames Human Relations Commission

Woman's Head sculpture, City of Ames

Date: May 1, 2017
To: Mayor Anne Campbell and the Ames City Council
From: Ames Human Relations Commission (AHRC)
Re: Safe City Resolution

Dear Mayor Campbell and Council Members,

Attached to this memo you will find a resolution designed to ease any anxiety experienced by the families and friends of undocumented immigrants by enacting a proposed resolution affirming that the Ames Police Department shall not undertake actions to detect the presence of unauthorized immigrants or devote any public resources to the enforcement of federal immigration laws and regulations.

The Ames Human Relations Commission is charged by ordinance of the City to:

“…promote good will among the various racial, religious, and ethnic groups…”

The Commission believes strongly that the attached resolution is in keeping with our mission. The resolution has wide community support and is a reflection of the City of Ames’ core values as a forward-thinking community “where everyone has opportunities to discover and thrive.”

The resolution proposed by the Ames Human Relations Commission is a nearly verbatim replication of the resolution adopted for the same purpose by the City Council for the City of Iowa City on January 17th of this year.

The protections against discrimination stated in the Ames Human Relations Ordinance (Chapter 14 Ames Municipal Code) are afforded to everyone present in our City, without regard to their status under federal immigration laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment, state and local government agencies and employees cannot be commandeered to enforce federal laws. The Ames Human Relations Commission urges that the Ames City Council affirm an inclusive and welcoming policy by enacting the requested resolution.

Yours Truly,

John R. Klaus, Chair
Ames Human Relations Commission


WHEREAS, the City of Ames devotes resources to law enforcement for the purpose of assuring the safety of all persons who reside in or visit our community; and

WHEREAS, the power to regulate immigration is exclusive to the federal government and the enforcement of immigration law is a function of the federal government that currently resides with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security; and

WHEREAS, no federal law compels the local police to participate in the enforcement of federal immigration law and any such requirement would raise significant anti-commandeering issues under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, for as long as the City can remember, the Ames Police Department has not been involved in the enforcement of federal immigration law; and,

WHEREAS, any perception that the local police are involved in the enforcement of immigration law will undermine the police-community relationships that have been built up over the years, and thereby undermine the ability of the police to keep the community safe; and,

WHEREAS, it is essential to public safety that every person, regardless of immigration status, who is a victim of or a witness to a crime feel comfortable reporting crimes or aiding in the investigation of crimes.


1. Except as necessary for public safety as determined by the Police Chief or designee, or as otherwise required by state or federal law, the Ames Police Department shall not undertake any law enforcement action for the purpose of detecting the presence of undocumented persons or devote any public resources to the enforcement of federal immigration law.

2. This resolution addresses the discretionary use of legal city resources and does not:

(i) Prohibit, or in any way restrict, any official or employee of the City of Ames from sending to or receiving from ICE information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual (8 U.S. C. Section 1373);

(ii) Affect or limit the enforcement of federal immigration law by federal authorities within the City of Ames;

(iii) Affect or limit ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program (f/k/a Secure Communities) whereby all fingerprints of adults arrested, or juveniles taken into custody, for a crime other than a simple misdemeanor are automatically included in the federal automated fingerprint identification system and cross checked against the ICE database, such that ICE is notified of that person’s arrest and detention in the jail; or

(iv) In any way condone, encourage or assist the violation of federal law which makes it a crime for any person to, “knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation.” (8 U.S.C. Section 1324)


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