Hailey Main Street

The Hailey City Council will consider a resolution on Monday, Feb. 8, that would establish new standards for how city staff—namely police officers—enforce federal immigration law, with the goal of increasing trust between the city’s immigrant community and law enforcement.

The resolution, the outcome of a collaboration between the city of Hailey and immigrant-rights organization Safe Communities Coalition, operates on the idea that enforcing federal immigration law should fall on the shoulders of the federal government—not the city—and that using city resources to assist in immigration enforcement results in unnecessary local spending.

Specifically, the resolution asks that police officers do not inquire about individuals’ immigration status or request passports, registration cards and other documentation “unless necessary” to investigate criminal activity. It states that officers should not detain a person on the basis of violation of immigration law without a judicial warrant or order, nor should they “provide federal authorities with non-publicly available information about any individual for immigration purposes, including by providing access to department databases,” except if required by law.

Under the resolution, the city would treat any state-issued identification card or photo ID issued by a person’s nation of origin—such as a driver’s license, passport or Consular Identification Card—as “adequate evidence of identity” no less valid than a driver’s license issued by the state of Idaho. That provision would not apply to traffic laws, which require drivers to possess a valid driver’s license.

Unlike a city ordinance, which carries the weight of law and can involve penalties, a city resolution is a formal pronouncement of the will of a governing body. As such, the resolution could not bar any city police officer or staff member from transferring 911 calls to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Dispatch Center or “performing any action that is required by federal or state statute, local law, or court decision or order.”

Council to weigh COVID response

The council on Monday will also consider adopting a new emergency health order and emergency-powers ordinance that would either renew or update existing COVID-19 restrictions.

Under Idaho state law, the council has the authority to suspend certain operations, make quarantine or isolation orders, enforce social distancing and restrict travel, given it has an emergency-powers ordinance in place.

The city’s current emergency health order, last amended in November, relies on the state's Stage 2 Order to limit indoor and outdoor group sizes to 10 with an exception for business owners who can operate with proper physical distancing between customers.

When Gov. Little’s Stage 3 Stay Healthy Order went into effect last Tuesday, however, the statewide indoor group-size limit rose to 50. Due to a local surge in COVID cases at a rate much higher than the rest of Idaho, the council is considering reducing Hailey’s group-size maximum to 10 people once again. If the proposed order is not adopted on Monday, the existing order would remain in effect—continuing to require masks, enforcement and signage—though 50 people would be allowed indoors.

To attend Monday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting, visit https://www.gotomeet.me/CityofHaileyCityCouncil on a smartphone or computer, or call 872-240-331 and enter access code 543-667-133.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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