Ohio is one of 11 states that’s joined a lawsuit to reinstate President Donald Trump’s executive order threatening funding cuts to so-called “sanctuary cities.”
The 11 states are asking an appeals court in San Francisco to enforce the order, which could punish cities that don’t cooperate with federal officials dealing with undocumented immigrants.
A legal brief from the Attorneys General says sanctuary cities "undermine the rule of law and deprive law enforcement of the tools necessary to enforce the law effectively."
Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a forum in February that cities need to follow the law, though the term “sanctuary city” has no legal definition.
“It’s a debate that, it inflames people,” DeWine said. “And we need to cool it down a little bit, and we need to get down to what people are really doing.”
At least eight Ohio cities have passed ordinances on immigration, saying that complying with federal authorities is costly and risks violating people’s rights. Cincinnati declared itself a sanctuary city last January, and Oberlin followed suit by enacting protections for undocumented immigrants.
Meanwhile, Columbus officials have started a legal fund to help undocumented immigrants and have made statements clarifying the city’s positions.
But none of those cities have been threatened with losing federal funding, at least not yet. So far, the Justice Department has only sent warnings to Chicago, Baltimore, Albuquerque, San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. In response, a number of the cities sued, and two judges blocked the policy this fall.
Legislation to ban sanctuary cities proposed at the Statehouse in April has had no committee hearings. That bill, proposed by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Rep. Candice Keller, would hold city officials criminally liable for any crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.