LEXINGTON, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday proposed legislation that would prohibit sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth.
Sanctuary cities are loosely defined as cities which limit their cooperation with federal immigration agents.
The legislation would prohibit local governments from enacting “sanctuary” policies that prevent local law enforcement from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enfocement.
“Irresponsible and legally questionable sanctuary policies handcuff our law enforcement personnel and pose a significant risk to public safety,” Bevin said. "
Sen. Dan Carroll and Rep. John Blanton are sponsoring the legislation.
Carroll, a former Paducah assistant police chief, emphasized the urgency to address sanctuary policies.
“Cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement has never been more important than it is today,” he said. “Permitting any unit of local government to mandate limited ... cooperation with federal immigration officials would hinder the effectiveness of local law enforcement and put our citizens at risk. This legislation is not intended as a statement on immigration policy, but rather a statement of support for law enforcement officers who have sworn to protect their communities.”
Added former KSP Maj. Blanton: “Sanctuary policies allow politicians to force their political agenda upon the law enforcement community. These types of policies are in direct violation to the oath that police officers take to protect and serve their communities, and legislation is necessary to ensure that law enforcement can do their job without the undue influence of politics.”
Bevin, state lawmakers, Lexington FOP members and local Homeland Security officials all spoke at the joint news conference in Lexington on Friday.
Mayor Greg Fischer has referred to Louisville as a sanctuary city in the past, leading to a warning from the Department of Justice that Louisville could lose federal funding for some grants and programs.
On Friday, Fischer spokeswoman Jean Porter released a brief statement.
“As we have said before, Louisville is both a welcoming city, and in compliance with federal and state law,” she said. “We will review and monitor the bill.”
According to a statement from Bevin’s office, at least 10 other states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — have already enacted legislation prohibiting “sanctuary” policies, and 21 more are considering similar measures.