FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky lawmakers are making a bill to prevent sanctuary cities in the commonwealth a top priority for the 2020 legislative session.
Senate Bill 1 would prohibit law enforcement from enacting, adopting, or otherwise enforcing any sanctuary policy and to support the enforcement of federal immigration law. (WKYT)
Sanctuary cities shield some undocumented immigrants from federal law enforcement.
It was filed on the first day of the session.
“And I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why it is Senate Bill 1. It is SB1 simply because it is a public safety issue," said Senator Danny Carroll, R-Paducah.
Kentucky currently has no sanctuary cities or safe havens for undocumented immigrants, but the bill aims to stop something before it ever happens essentially.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, R-Kentucky, says he supports the bill because he says he doesn't want officers to have their hands tied.
“Why would we want our local law enforcement from collaborating and coordinating with federal agencies to keep our communities safe," said Cameron.
Opponents say the bill would separate Kentucky families and is dangerous and discriminatory.
"There is not one law enforcement agency in this state that has come forward and said at any time, 'We cannot do our jobs, and we need the help of the immigration and customs service, ICE,'" said Senator Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington.
The bill would exempt schools and boards of education, and offers protection for those who are witnesses or victims of a crime.
It also prohibits a federal immigration officer from going to a jail to enforce federal immigration laws.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky released a statement, in part, saying, "Senate Bill 1 is unnecessary, cruel, and will lead to the detention and deportation of our colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family members.”