N. Dakota lawmakers move toward ban on so-called sanctuary cities

The pushback on so-called sanctuary cities that prohibit local police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities continues to pick up momentum. Kansas enacted a ban on local jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last year. State legislators took action after a local government passed sanctuary protections, according to the Council of State Governments.

Lawmakers in Kansas this year passed a bill preempting local jurisdictions from enacting so-called “sanctuary” protections — policies that, in part, restrict cooperation between law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

HB 2717 became law only a few months after a sanctuary ordinance was adopted by officials in Wyandotte County, one of Kansas’ most populated counties.

That ordinance included language instructing police not to ask about the immigration status of individuals seeking help.

It also directed local law enforcement not to respond to calls “for assistance for federal immigration enforcement authorities to enforce immigration law” (unless to mitigate a public safety threat).

North Dakota could be next. The North Dakota House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a measure, Forum notes, to preempt any attempt by local governments across the state to stop police from cooperating with ICE investigations.

The North Dakota House of Representatives has advanced legislation to prohibit local governments from establishing policies that hinder cooperation with immigration officials.

The Republican-dominated House voted 80-11 to approve House Bill 1155, sponsored by Rep. Matt Heilman, R-Bismarck. The proposal will head to the Senate when the chambers exchange passed legislation in March.

Opponents point out that no North Dakota city has passed an ordinance designating it a sanctuary city. But lawmakers in the state house apparently don’t plan on taking any chances.

The one-page bill would bar the state, cities, counties and higher education institutions from adopting policies that would:

Inhibit local authorities from reporting undocumented immigrants to federal officials.

Grant undocumented immigrants the legal right to stay in a jurisdiction.

If the measure reaches the governor’s desk, North Dakota would also follow in the footsteps of Iowa.

Passed in 2018, Iowa’s SF 481 orders local law enforcement to fully comply with federal immigration detainer requests, and it bars municipalities from adopting policies that restrict cooperation with immigration authorities. Violation of the law can result in a loss of state funding. Also under SF 481, the state prohibits local ordinances that discourage police from asking about the immigration status of a person who has been detained or arrested. However, officers cannot inquire about the immigration status of a person who is reporting a crime.