GOP lawmakers, Gov. Bevin throw support behind 'sanctuary city' ban legislation

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Gov. Matt Bevin and some Kentucky Republican lawmakers are throwing their support behind a proposed bill which would ban sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth.

Photo: MGN Online/Facebook/Matt Bevin

The legislation will be sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll and Rep. John Blanton. The bill aims to prohibit local governments from enacting policies which would prevent law enforcement agencies from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The bill defines a "sanctuary policy" as an order, ordinance, resolution or policy that limits or prohibits local government officials from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies in immigration matters. It also describes "sanctuary policies" as those which grant illegal immigrants the right to live legally in the jurisdictions. Any law that is in violation of U.S. sanctuary city law is also applied in the state law.

Local governments would also have to comply with requests from ICE to maintain custody of an immigrant or to transfer an immigrant into ICE custody. Municipalities would also not be allowed to prevent law enforcement officers from asking about a person's citizenship or immigration status.

It would also prevent municipalities to require ICE to obtain a warrant or demonstrate more than probably cause before they comply with detainers or other legal and valid requests.

This comes weeks after Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said the city "only assists ICE when there are arrest warrants issued from a judge, or there is a clear danger to public safety," according to our reporting partners at the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Lexington city leaders would state Friday that it is not a sanctuary city, and the current procedures have remained in place for more than 20 years. It also stated federal agencies have a strong presence in Lexington, and they generally have the resources needed to carry out their actions.

"Of course if they request assistance because of special circumstances our local police provide it, but generally they have the resources they need," Susan Straub, spokeswoman for Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, said.

If the bill was signed into law, Mayor Gorton nor any other city mayor would be able to have their own immigration policies.

Gov. Bevin argues local politicians have proposed policies which would discourage cooperation between local and federal authorities, but he also said Kentucky currently doesn't have a problem adhering to federal immigration laws.

The governor's office says Kentucky would join at least 10 other states in enacting a "sanctuary city" ban if the proposed legislation becomes law.

State law enforcement and homeland security leaders threw their support behind the bill along with members of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Draft Bill - Sanctuary City Policies by WKYT on Scribd

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