TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Opponents of a Twin Falls refugee center are pushing forward with a measure to ban similar facilities, despite a county prosecutor calling it unconstitutional.
Prosecutor Grant Loebs wrote an opinion last week saying no alteration or revision would make the measure constitutional, the Times-News reported (http://bit.ly/1LmkmIr).
He says it encroaches on federal immigration powers, opens the possibility for lengthy litigation, and illegally attempts to block future attempts at repeal.
"The initiative does not state a clear explanation as to why the prohibition of refugee resettlement in the county is necessary for the general welfare," Loebs wrote. "Enforcement of the provisions of this proposed initiative would invite prolonged litigation regarding why its provisions are not 'arbitrary, capricious, and/or discriminatory.'"
The College of Southern Idaho sponsors the refugee program. The Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center needs to collect 3,842 signatures to get the measure on the ballot in May.
Rick Martin heads the committee and says his group is moving forward with the measure without making any significant changes.
"It'll give the voters a chance to send a message to the (college) Board of Trustees on whether they want a refugee center or not," he said.
The committee formed following an announcement from the college that some of the 300 refugees expected to start arriving Oct. 1 will be from Syria.
A civil war broke out in the country over four years ago. The U.S. is looking at allowing more Syrians into the country as Europe grapples with an influx of refugees.
The community college's Refugee Center has resettled roughly 5,000 people since the 1980s.
Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com