A mayoral debate this week in Omaha brought up the topic if it is a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says no. She says there is no legal definition for a sanctuary city but it means a city enacts policies, practices or laws that will obstruct federal immigration laws and policies and that is not the case in Omaha.
Mayor Stothert says, “When Omaha Police Department makes an arrest and the suspect is booked into jail, ICE can and they do electronically checks the jail census to identify if anyone recently arrested may have an immigration hold on therm. That is what we do within the city of Omaha and Douglas County.” If ICE identifies that person as a person of interest, they will furnish the jail with a formal detainer. Mayor Stothert says that does not make Omaha a sanctuary city.
Mayor Stothert says, “I would never support the city taking action to interfere or obstruct immigration laws. It is also important that we would not advocate offering the city of Omaha as a place where those who are involved in criminal conduct can go to avoid consequences of their action.”
Mayor Stothert says immigration has always been a federal issue. She says the Omaha Police Department’s mission is to enforce local laws. If a person is stopped for speeding and it is not involved in a criminal activity, legal status is not checked. If it is criminal activity, that person is arrested and ICE basically takes it from there.