Bill banning sanctuary policies heading to House
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Federal Immigration Cooperation Act of 2020 passed the state Senate Tuesday by a 28-10 vote.
The legislation would prohibit law enforcement officials and other public officials from enforcing any sanctuary policy, a term applied to jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The measure is designated Senate Bill 1, an assignment reserved each year for bills deemed a priority of the Senate majority’s leadership.
“This bill ensures cooperation between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies in the enforcement of immigration law,” said Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, a sponsor of SB 1. “It ensures this by keeping political ideology out of law enforcement.”
SB 1 would also require law enforcement and other public agencies to use their best efforts, considering available resources, to support the enforcement of federal immigration law. Carroll said an amended version of the bill expanded exemptions from local school districts to rape crisis centers, domestic violence centers and other groups that provide social services.
“We must protect our people,” said Carroll, in referencing ‘Dreamland,’ a book that chronicled how the prescription opiate epidemic intersected with the heroin scourge in America. “We all know the issues we have had with criminal gangs coming to our state.”
Sen. Gerald A. Neal, D-Louisville, was one of several who stood to oppose SB 1.
“I take issue with this bill for a number of reasons,” he said. “One, there is no sanctuary city … in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
Neal said supporters of the bill were unable to cite one instance where local law enforcement refused to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“What all this adds up to is there is no problem here,” he said. “I can’t figure out why we are here on this matter in this way.”
Carroll called SB 1 a preemptive measure.
“If our state starts implementing sanctuary policies, and we are declared a sanctuary state by the federal government, we stand to lose millions of dollars of aid from the federal government – dollars that are used to provide services to the very people the opponents of this bill say they are trying to protect,” he said
Carroll added that SB 1 wasn’t a statement on immigration policy.
“This bill is about law enforcement and law enforcement having the tools to do their job,” he said.
SB 1 now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.