Although Mississippi doesn't have any self-declared sanctuary cities and no political leaders trying to create them, the state's lawmakers passed a bill that would ban the controversial policy.
"Taxpayers expect their state and its political subdivisions to abide by federal immigration laws," Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi wrote on Twitter.
Senate Bill 2710 prohibits "cities, counties, community colleges and universities from purposefully defying federal immigration laws."
"This state law banning sanctuary cities is a major step forward for law and order in Mississippi," said Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, according to Y'all Politics. "I appreciate the work of Sen. [Sean] Tindell to ensure our local governments and educational institutions follow federal immigration laws. No government entity -- whether at city hall or a university campus -- can grant amnesty to illegal aliens and violate federal laws."
The bill first passed the Mississippi state senate on Feb. 9 by a vote of 32-16, according to a tweet by Associated Press reporter Jeff Amy. It will go to the governor to be signed into law.
There is no legal definition of "sanctuary city," but the term generally applies to policies set forth by city or county-level governments that aim to restrict the level of cooperation local law enforcement has with federal immigration authorities when it comes to immigrants in the country without permission who are accused of minor crimes.
Mississippi could become the first state to ban sanctuary cities if Texas doesn't get there first.
While Texas lawmakers already voted to block state funds to sanctuary cities, lawmakers are also attempting to rush through legislation that will ban sanctuary cities.
According to The Texas Tribune, the proposed bill punishes local governments and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
State lawmakers' efforts have ran into opposition from city leaders, including Austin Sheriff Sally Hernandez.
Hernandez released a statement with her assessment of the issue:
I respect the job of our state leaders, but I will not allow fear and misinformation to be my guiding principles as a leader sworn to protect this community. I am following all state and federal laws, and upholding constitutional rights to due process for all in our criminal justice system.
Our community is safer when people can report crimes without fear of deportation. I trust the court system and our judges to assess the risks and set appropriate bonds and conditions for all who are incarcerated. The voters, who elected state leaders and me, expect and deserve a collaborative effort to come up with solutions to this very complex issue. That is precisely what I’m committed to.