Mississippi passes ban on sanctuary cities

Mississippi passes ban on sanctuary cities

The Mississippi state Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a measure that would prohibit counties, cities and colleges from acting as sanctuary cities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

No Mississippi cities currently act as sanctuary cities. But state leaders said Tuesday that the measure would be another check on illegal immigration in the state.

“Taxpayers expect their state and its political subdivisions to abide by federal immigration laws,” Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said on Twitter. He said he would sign the bill.


The measure, Senate Bill 2710, prohibits cities, counties, colleges and state agencies from limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers sometimes ask localities to hold undocumented immigrants in local jails.

Sanctuary cities ignore those detainer requests. The new Mississippi law will require subdivisions and higher learning institutions to comply with those requests.

The vote Tuesday was the final hurdle for a bill that sailed through the state House with only minor changes. 

The measure is in part a response to a 2010 ordinance adopted by Jackson, Miss., which prohibited city police from asking anyone they detained about their immigration status.

Several other Republican-dominated states are considering similar bans on sanctuary cities. 

A Texas state House committee is debating a measure that would allow the state to fine cities and counties that act as sanctuaries up to $25,000 a day; that measure is likely to head to the full House floor this week. Iowa and Pennsylvania legislators also considered bills this year, though their prospects are less certain.

In Virginia, two measures in the Republican-led legislature died after Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) threatened vetoes.