Twin Falls County Prosecutor: Law To Ban Refugee Centers Would Be Illegal

Sep 10, 2015

A campaign is under way in Twin Falls County to ban refugee centers. The city of Twin Falls is home to the College of Southern Idaho's resettlement program, which has been around for 30 years. The group behind the campaign argues refugee centers are a public nuisance. Some supporters are worried about dangerous refugees moving to the area. 

If the campaign gets enough signatures, the initiative could be on the ballot next spring.

But Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says if passed, the law would be unconstitutional. As part of the process to get the measure on the ballot, Loebs issued an advisory opinion. He says he found a number of problems with it, perhaps the most significant being a potential conflict with federal law.

“This involves an attempt by a local jurisdiction to engage in legislation having to do with the nation’s immigration and citizenship laws," Loebs says. "Those are federal issues.”

In a press release, initiative leader Rick Martin says he plans to "press on" to get the measure on the ballot next spring, despite the prosecutor's opinion. Loebs, though, says if the measure passes as it is currently drafted it will likely be challenged in court.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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