In a move to support President Donald Trump's executive order to deny funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not comply with federal immigration law enforcement, some GOP lawmakers are working to block state money from going to those cities.
Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho, Pennsylvania and Texas have introduced measures to prevent such cities from receiving any state funds, while others are reportedly drafting similar laws, reports The Hill.
"I will not tolerate sanctuary city policies that put the citizens of Texas at risk," Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said in a Feb. 9 statement, according to The Hill.
On Feb. 8, the Texas senate passed a bill to require police departments to hold anyone in custody until U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) can determine whether they are a legal immigrant or citizen. If they do not follow these requirements, the cities will no longer be eligible to receive state funding.
Other state proposals, such as those in Florida and Ohio, would take it a step further and penalize officials who do not honor ICE requests with fines and even criminal charges.
Federal law does not require police departments to work with ICE or enforce immigration statutes. Many legislators in the states passing these new requirements have said that they are doing so as a direct response to Trump’s order.
"What he's doing is a great idea," said Republican State Sen. Mark Green of Tennessee, who drafted his state's sanctuary city ban. "We need to protect Americans, we need to protect Tennesseans. We’re going to take it a step further and enhance what the president is doing and take state dollars from cities that decide, because they want to, to ignore ICE detainers."
Some cities and states are fighting back. California is drafting a budget to create legal defense funds for those impacted by immigration raids while other areas, like Massachusetts sanctuary cities Lawrence and Chelsea, have filed federal lawsuits against Trump’s order to block it as unconstitutional, notes Politico
“In California, immigrants are an integral part of who we are and what we’ve become,” Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California said in January after vowing to remain an immigrant-friendly state, notes The Hill. “We will defend everybody, every man, woman and child, who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”