Prior to the election of President Donald Trump, the definition of sanctuary cities was murky at best with states taking different approaches to their own policies. With immigration policies doing a 180 degree turn from the prior to the new presidential administration, what composes a sanctuary city seems to be gaining clarity and consistency as these communities are now banding together against the White House.
A bill that prohibits sanctuary city policies in Louisiana is moving forward after a state legislative committee approved it with an 8-7 vote on April 26. The bill now moves to the House for debate.
Part of the House Bill 135’s language defines sanctuary city policies as ordinances or guidelines that discourage or prohibit cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It prevents local law enforcement from asking suspects about their immigration statuses for traffic violations or other types of stops.
Author and Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs emphasized that the bill is not about hate directed at immigrants, but the rule of law, specifically federal laws she claims are continually violated by sanctuary city policies
The bill requires cities and other subdivisions to show that they are compliant with federal law in order to receive state grants or funds. Non-compliance will lead to the state taking back funding.
The legislation also mandates that law enforcement contact ICE agents if a suspect detained for any reason is unable to provide proof of citizenship or immigration status within 48 hours.
With the help of Trump’s White House, Attorney General Jeff Landry made it his goal to shine “a bright light” on Louisiana sanctuary cities. He sees success in halting their progress. House Bill 135 would formalize the prohibition and prohibit future municipalities or jurisdictions from enacting sanctuary policies.
Opponents want the immigration problem resolved at the federal, not state level. They also want the financial penalties directed at sanctuary cities to end.
Immigration laws and local sanctuary policies continue to be fluid. Immigrants who find themselves detained for being undocumented need to even the odds they face with knowledgeable legal counsel.