Kentucky GOP Looking to Tackle Illegal Immigration in The State

Kentucky GOP Looking to Tackle Illegal Immigration in The State
  • The state’s legislative session kicked off with the immigration bill.
  • In 2014, 30% of the state’s immigration population was illegal.
  • Illegal immigrants cost taxpayers more than $279 million in the state.
  • Non-citizens are to blame for 24% of federal drug arrests 

( — Kentucky Republicans have decided to make illegal immigration one of their top priorities for the 2020 legislative session.

In the Senate, Republicans are pushing Senate Bill 1 which would ban sanctuary cities in the state. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, also requires the state’s employees to support the enforcement of federal immigration laws as best they can. Public grade schools are exempt from the bill, but colleges are not.

According to the bill, universities and colleges that are primarily funded by Kentucky will not be allowed to enact any sanctuary-type rules. Further, any sanctuary law that was put in place prior to the bill’s enactment would be void.

Sanctuary laws are causing controversy around the country. The laws essentially prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has said that sanctuary policies are making America less safe. He ordered the Justice Department to prioritize law enforcement grant money for communities that help immigration officials. In other words, if a city or state refuses to help authorities, they may not get police funding from the feds. The policy withstood a court challenge.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers pointed out that the state needs to protect itself against illegal aliens draining the system:

“There are individuals coming into our country that are using our resources, our educational systems and our health care systems that are not contributing in any way. So how do we deprive our citizens and individuals who have immigrated here legally … for people who have not followed the law and on many occasions are illegal to the extent that they are breaking the law and helping in the trafficking of drugs?”

Stivers is right to be concerned. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigrants have cost the state hundreds of millions of tax dollars. The state spends about $22 million annually for criminal justice expenses related to aliens. On healthcare, upwards of $50 million is spent.

Democrats are pushing back against Senate Bill 1. Immigration supporters have said the bill will lead to widespread discrimination based on color in the state.

Republicans deny the claims and say that the bill is what’s best to protect Kentuckians. Senator Carroll said it’s not about discrimination, it’s about safety:

“There has always been a longstanding tradition of federal, state, and local officers cooperating with each other, and if we don’t do that, then the safety of our people is gonna be at risk.”

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