Arkansas Senate Approves Bill Banning ‘Sanctuary’ Cities

Migrant rights groups hold candles during a vigil to protest against US President Donald Trump’s new crackdown on “sanctuary cities”, outside the City Hall in Los Angeles on January 25, 2017.
Some 300 such cities, counties or states — from New York to Los Angeles — exist throughout the United States, and many of them have vowed since Trump’s election to protect the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants living in the country.
/ AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Senate has approved legislation prohibiting cities from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and threatening to cut off their funding if they adopt “sanctuary” policies.

The majority-Republican Senate on Friday voted 24-5 for the bill, which would also prohibit cities from preventing local law enforcement from asking about someone’s immigration or citizenship status. The measure now heads to the House.

The proposal would make a city ineligible for discretionary funds administered by the state if the attorney general determines it is a sanctuary city. No cities in Arkansas have adopted such sanctuary policies, but the bill’s sponsor says the penalty is needed to ensure they’ll comply with federal law.

Advocates have said the bill is unnecessary and could sow mistrust between the immigration community and law enforcement.

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