(The Daily Signal) In states across the country, Republican lawmakers are aiming to combat sanctuary cities and counties, and in some cases banding together to develop new ways to prod local jurisdictions into helping enforce federal immigration law.
While these efforts are not unique—18 states introduced legislation to limit sanctuary policies in the 2016 state legislative session—they are taking a stronger force at a time when the Trump administration has begun reviewing how to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal grant funding.
At the same time, states, cities, and counties that provide protection to immigrants living illegally in their communities have refused to back down.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 29 states and Washington, D.C., are considering legislation in 2017 regarding sanctuary jurisdictions or noncompliance with immigration detainers.
Of these states, 25 states would prohibit sanctuary policies and 8 states and Washington, D.C., would support them. Five states have legislation on both sides of the issue.
“The role of state and local law enforcement in federal immigration policy has returned to the forefront of public debate,” Ann Morse of the National Conference of State Legislatures wrote in her synopsis of state-level legislative action.
Here are three strategies states are proposing to challenge sanctuary cities.
1. Criminal Prosecution
The Republican-controlled Texas Senate last month passed legislation that subjects leaders of sanctuary cities and counties to criminal prosecution if they refuse to honor requests, known as detainers, from federal immigration officers to hand over illegal immigrants in custody for possible deportation.
“If elected officials want to flaunt state law there will penalty,” said state Rep. Charlie Geren, a Republican who is finalizing a similar bill in the Texas House that may include a criminal liability component….