Mississippi may not have any official “sanctuary cities,” but that’s not stopping the state from wading into the national debate on the issue.
A bill the state House of Representatives passed Monday would “authorize all Mississippi law enforcement officers to assist federal agencies by legally detaining illegal aliens,” according to the Jackson Free Press. The legislation comes amid a heated debate in the nation about immigration reform and less than a year after a woman was shot in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who had served time in federal jail for illegally entering the country. He had previously been deported five times.
“I think in Mississippi we could do more to enforce immigration laws, and that's the point” of the bill, state Sen. Sean Tindell, the Republican who wrote the bill, said Thursday. When asked, he confirmed that there are no self-declared “sanctuary cities” in the state.
Other Republicans noted that sanctuary cities have been established elsewhere in which ordinances have been passed instructing officers not to ask about immigration status during encounters.
A map of sanctuary cities compiled by the conservative group Center for Immigration Studies shows that there are very few of them in many of the Southern states that have voted in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has made immigration and sanctuary cities a major talking point on his campaign. There aren’t any such cities in Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia — all states that voted for Trump in their nominating contests.
There are, however, “sanctuary counties” in both Georgia and Virginia, but Trump did not do as well in those areas as he did elsewhere. In Fulton County, Georgia, Trump lost handily to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (who does not support sanctuary cities). Trump also lost to Rubio in Chesterfield County, Virginia, but by just over 1 percent of the county’s vote, according to Politico.