Proposed bill would ban sanctuary cities in Kentucky, require enforcement of immigration laws

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The volatile illegal immigration issue has reached into the Kentucky legislature.

 A Republican-backed bill is aimed at preventing sanctuary policies. It also would require most public employees to use their “best efforts” to help enforce federal immigration laws. 

Senate President Robert Stivers touted the measure Thursday as a public-safety tool to combat Kentucky’s drug woes, including a Mexican drug trafficking network reputed to operate in the state.

The measure was endorsed by the state’s new attorney general, Daniel Cameron. But a civil liberties group says it would lead to racial profiling and the separation of families targeted for deportation.

Statement from ACLU: 

“Despite the many challenges our Commonwealth faces, the Kentucky Senate has chosen legislation that will separate Kentucky families as their top priority this session.

Senate Bill 1 is dangerous and could have sweeping consequences for all Kentuckians if passed. The bill requires law enforcement to blindly carry out requests by federal immigration authorities, turning local control on its head and leaving counties responsible for any constitutional violations. The bill seeks to use our public agency employees as immigration agents, without any training. Senate Bill 1’s vague and cruel provisions requiring public officials to use their “best efforts” to support immigration enforcement will, undoubtedly, put more Kentuckians at risk of deportation leading to more Kentucky families being temporarily or permanently separated. The definition of public officials the bill uses includes agencies that get at least 25% of their funds from the government, like employees of some domestic violence and sexual assault centers.

Senate Bill 1 will lead to racial profiling and intimidation of Black and Brown Kentuckians. Already this week, supporters of the bill have been using racist rhetoric and circulating false information and stereotypes about foreign-born Kentuckians in the media to advance their cause.

Our immigration system needs to be updated and those updates are required to come from the federal level. The Trump administration has been clear: there are no cities in Kentucky that have policies that violate federal immigration law.

Senate Bill 1 is unnecessary, cruel, and will lead to the detention and deportation of our colleagues, neighbors, friends, and family members.”

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