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Lawmaker Files Bill Prohibiting Arkansas Cities From Enacting Sanctuary Policies

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LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — In a likely response to several major cities across the country declaring themselves “sanctuary cities,” an Arkansas lawmaker has filed a bill that, if passed during the 2017 legislative session, would prohibit cities in the Natural State from enacting “sanctuary policies.”

Following Donald Trump’s nomination, several major metro areas, like D.C., San Francisco and Chicago, have pledged to limit their cooperation with federal immigration officials in response to the president-elect’s mass deportation plan.

Under the Arkansas bill, which was filed Friday (Dec. 2) by Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-District 6, any municipality that does enact sanctuary policies would be ineligible for money provided through the state until the policies are repealed.

The bill also allows law enforcement officers of a municipality with sanctuary policies to cooperate with state and federal agencies and officials on enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration and prohibits state agencies from enacting or adopting sanctuary policies.

Any records connected to administrative investigations related to sanctuary policies would also be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, which means the documents would not be available to the public.

Sanctuary policies include orders, ordinances or laws that:

  • Limit municipal employees from cooperating with federal agencies to report the immigration status of a person within the municipality,
  • Grants illegal immigrants the right to lawful presence within the municipality,
  • Imposes conditions on the municipality’s cooperation with requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to maintain custody of an immigrant or to transfer that person to the custody of ICE,
  • Requires ICE to obtain a warrant or demonstrated probable cause before complying with ICE’s request to maintain custody of an immigrant or to transfer that person to the custody of ICE,
  • Prevents law enforcement officers from asking a person about his or her citizenship or immigration status.

The 2017 legislative session begins Jan. 9.

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