Seizing on one of President Donald Trump’s favorite catchphrases, Denham Springs state Rep. Valarie Hodges said today that her bill preventing cities from enacting so-called sanctuary city policies puts “America and Americans first.”
As The USA Today Network of Louisiana reports, House Bill 135, which Hodges authored, narrowly escaped a House committee on criminal justice to advance for debate on the full House floor. A similar bill she filed last year cleared the House, but was killed in a Senate committee.
Republican Sherman Mack, of Albany, chairman of the House criminal justice committee, broke today’s tie vote to advance the bill.
“Our rule of law here is to protect America and Americans first,” Hodges said. Sanctuary cities generally prevent local law enforcement officials from asking people about their immigration status.
Hodges was bolstered by support from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who said last year’s debate “shined a light” on sanctuary policies in New Orleans and Lafayette Parish.
“Lafayette Parish changed its policy and did so because we brought light to the issue,” Landry said. He adds that New Orleans also altered its policies, but not enough to be dropped from the list of sanctuary cities.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions identified New Orleans as one of the cities targeted in a presidential executive order that cut off federal funding to sanctuary cities.
A federal judge has since blocked Trump’s executive order, but Landry said Hodges’ bill would prevent any Louisiana city from becoming a sanctuary city in the future.