The Decorah City Council has approved a statement of solidarity with Muslims. The action came at the council’s meeting last night. Amalia Vaghts, the chair of the Decorah Human Rights Commission, says there are a growing number of Muslims in Decorah’s “schools, stores and hospitals.”

“Decorah is a town with a strong sense of place and community life,” Vaghts said. “We invite the council to extend a clear welcome to people who are experiencing a particularly heightened level of discrimination, hatred and marginalization to make clear that our community honors and invites all people.”

Meanwhile, county officials in the Iowa City area say they will not assist in federal immigration raids. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors and the Johnson County sheriff issued a joint statement on the matter Monday. Johnson County Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass said the sheriff’s office didn’t agree with the text of a resolution that would have forbidden the use of county resources to enforce immigration law. She said this joint statement was a faster way of calming the fears of local immigrants.

“There are a lot of children who are fearful,” Green-Douglass said. “There are parents who are lining up guardians. There are children who are citizens who are being told that they’re going to have to leave and people are worried and scared and we want people to feel safe and welcome here.”

Republicans in the state legislature have drafted bills to penalize cities and counties in Iowa that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws or detain undocumented immigrants in local jails until they’re picked up by federal authorities.

(Reporting in Decorah by Darin Svenson of KDEC Radio; reporting in Iowa City by Katarina Sostaric of Iowa Public Radio)