Jason Hopkins on May 23, 2019
Washington became the latest state to offer safe haven to illegal immigrants after Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed a “sanctuary” bill into law on Wednesday.
The legislation prohibits local law enforcement from asking about an individual’s immigration status or place of birth, with an exception if it pertains to a criminal investigation. State prisons and jails within are also barred from honoring voluntary “immigration holds” requested by federal authorities such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or from alerting them when a migrant is soon to be released from jail.
The new rules are considered some of the most restrictive in the country.
“Our state agencies are not immigration enforcement agencies,” said Inslee, who is also a Democratic presidential candidate. “We will not be complicit in the Trump administration’s depraved efforts to break up hard-working immigrant and refugee families.”
Wednesday’s legislation is a mandate for all local law enforcement, expanding on a 2017 executive order by Inslee that imposed similar measures that only pertained to state agencies.
Inslee’s signature puts Washington on par with a growing number of deep-blue states that have enacted sanctuary policies. A list compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies names at least eight states that enacted laws protecting illegal immigrants from local law enforcement and ICE.
The sanctuary policies brought on by state governments put them in direct conflict with the White House. President Donald Trump has continued to prioritize immigration reform, and the administration is considering a slate of measures that would ratchet up deportation of legal and illegal immigrants.
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The sanctuary bill wasn’t the only legislation Inslee, known nationally for his environmental agenda, signed into law in recent days.
The Democratic governor legalized human composting on Tuesday, which creates an environmentally-friendly alternative to being buried or cremated. Licensed facilities in the state can now offer “natural organic reduction,” a process that mixes a dead body’s remains with substances such as straw and wood chips, making it healthier for the soil.
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