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Roberson to bring bill that would prevent sanctuary cities in Nevada


Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson wants to prevent any city or county in Nevada from becoming a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

In response to recent comments from a Clark County commissioner, Roberson, R-Henderson, plans to introduce a bill Monday aimed at blocking local municipalities from being declared as sanctuary cities and counties. The law would allow the state to withhold funding to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

Sanctuary jurisdictions typically refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement by not detaining undocumented immigrants for federal agents when those agents don’t have a warrant.

Mayors and police chiefs in some of the nation’s largest cities, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, have said their cities will not cooperate with the federal government. President Donald Trump issued an executive order days after taking office last month that threatened to withhold federal funding to jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration regulations and laws.

No jurisdictions or law enforcement agencies in Nevada have been declared sanctuaries. Las Vegas police in 2014, under former sheriff Doug Gillespie, implemented a policy to stop holding undocumented immigrants for federal agents. The department has refused to refer to itself as a sanctuary agency, however.

Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani posted on Facebook last week that she planned to introduce a resolution that would make it a sanctuary county.

“Commissioner Giunchigliani has decided that she will try to enact a radical, leftwing agenda by deciding which laws she believes should and should not be enforced. This flouting of the law is irresponsible,” Roberson said in a statement.

Giunchigliani could not be reached for comment Monday.

Sen. Yvanna Cancela, D-Las Vegas, an avid supporter of immigration reform, called Roberson’s bill “shameful and unacceptable.”

Cancela noted that Roberson voted in favor of previous bills that were seen as supportive of undocumented immigrants, such as allowing them to get drivers authorization cards and urging Congress to develop policies for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Local law enforcement should be focused on crime-solving and community safety. Threatening to cut off funding to local communities creates uncertainties that ultimately puts lives at risk,” Cancela said in a statement. “Rather than waste time with empty political threats, we should be focused on keeping all Nevada communities safe.”

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.