Recently, Senate Bill 64 was heard by the Senate General Laws Committee. This bill aims to cease any execution of sanctuary polices and discourage the creation of any policies that do not follow current U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policies. It is no secret that immigration is a widely discussed issue in our country right now, and I felt compelled to file this legislation to ensure that Missouri is in compliance with federal policies that are intended to protect our citizens.
This proposal expands the definition of a sanctuary policy to include local policies, whether formally enforced or not, that restrict or place conditions on local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with ICE. This bill would repeal any such policy and discourage new sanctuary polices from being enacted. This legislation provides our state with the ability to withhold state funding to municipalities if they fail to comply with federal immigration requests and policies.
Unfortunately, I was prompted to file this bill because of a tragedy that occurred in Springfield. On Oct. 31, 2018, three people were killed by an individual illegally present in the United States. Luis Perez was being held at Middlesex County Jail, located in New Jersey, in Dec. 2017. While he was in jail, ICE issued a detainer and requested notification prior to his release, so that he could be placed in their custody. However, Middlesex County Jail followed their local policy and released Perez into the community. They did not honor ICE’s detainer and did not notify them of Perez’s release.
Current law allows municipal agencies to follow local policies and ignore federal requests regarding illegal immigrants. This leads to a lack of communication between government entities and the inappropriate release of illegal immigrants. I believe the tragedy on Oct. 31 could have been prevented had the Middlesex County Jail held Perez until ICE took him into their custody.
The purpose of this legislation is to increase and encourage communication and cooperation between local and federal law enforcement. The safety of our constituents must be one of our top priorities. With this bill, I hope to prevent similar tragedies from occurring and protect the citizens of Missouri.
Please visit Sen. Burlison’s official Missouri Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/burlison for more legislative and constituent resources.