Bill Description: House Bill 338 would prohibit political subdivisions of the state of Idaho from refusing to enforce federal immigration law.
NOTE: The Senate amendment to House Bill 338 reduces the amount of time a state or local corrections official must detain the subject of a detainer request from a federal immigration officer. The amendment does not change the rating.
Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?
While there are not many things the federal government is given constitutional authority to oversee, Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly lists establishing "a uniform Rule of Naturalization" and regulating "commerce with foreign nations" as congressional powers.
It is within this context that immigration is regarded as under the authority of the federal government, an interpretation upheld in Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698 (1893).
House Bill 338 would create Chapter 97, Title 67, Idaho Code, to say that "no political subdivision of the state of Idaho may enact any ordinance or policy, whether written or oral, that limits or prohibits a law enforcement officer, local official, or local government employee from communicating with appropriate federal immigration officers in regard to the immigration status of any person within the state of Idaho."
Additionally, it would say that no political subdivision may "enact any ordinance or policy, whether written or oral, that limits or prohibits a state or local corrections official from complying with a detainer request from a federal immigration officer."
Finally, it would say that "A state or local corrections official may not release the subject of a detainer request from a federal immigration officer for a period of seventy-two (72)forty-eight (48) hours beginning from the subject's intended release date in state or local custody."
Enforcement would be through civil action, which could be brought by the state or by a resident of the offending political subdivision. The bill says, "In the event that a court finds that a political subdivision has intentionally violated the provisions of this section, the court shall enjoin the enactment of the ordinance or policy and may enter a judgment against the political subdivision of not less than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) and not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day that the ordinance or policy remains or remained in effect."
An additional enforcement provision instructs the state tax commission to "withhold any sales and use tax revenue distributions" from a political subdivision until any such judgment as described above "has been paid in full."
Furthermore, " a resident of a political subdivision of this state, or the resident's spouse, parents, or children if the resident is deceased, who is the victim of a murder, rape, or any felony as defined in Idaho Code for which an alien has been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least one (1) year, may bring a civil action against the political subdivision of this state if the political subdivision intentionally violated the provisions of subsection (2) of this section."
Taken together, these provisions require local governments to comply with constitutional state and federal immigration policies, thus protecting the rights of citizens and legal residents.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.