Toledo Legal News - News Bill would penalize municipalities that don't cooperate with immigration laws


A freshman lawmaker from Middletown is going after so-called Ohio sanctuary cities in a bill introduced recently in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Republican Rep. Candice Keller put forth House Bill 179, which would prohibit a local government that fails to cooperate with the federal government in enforcement of immigration laws from receiving certain state funds among other initiatives.

HB 179 defines a sanctuary subdivision as a political subdivision that, according to the director of public safety, is not in compliance with the requirements of section 9.631 of the Ohio Revised Code - the enforcement or assistance with federal immigration and customs agencies.

The bill stipulates that no state or local government agency or political subdivision shall adopt an ordinance, policy, directive, rule, or resolution to prohibit or otherwise restrict a public official or employee from doing any of the following:

Complying with the requirements to assist federal agents, detain any individual who is unlawfully present and cooperate with federal enforcement of immigration law.

Inquiring about a person's name, birthdate, place of birth, or citizenship or immigration status in the course of investigating or prosecuting a violation of any law or ordinance;

Maintaining information about a person's citizenship or immigration status; and

Sending information to, or requesting or receiving information from, a federal, state, or local government agency or employee concerning a person's citizenship or immigration status or for the purpose of determining a person's citizenship or immigration status.

Another provision of the bill would permit removal of officers of a local government that fails to uphold these requirements.

This provision primarily relates to all state and local government entities that administer public benefit.

These employees and officials shall comply with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the bill outlined.

"Whenever a person who is not a United States citizen or national applies ... for a state or local public benefit, the state or local governmental entity shall verify whether the person is ineligible for the benefit ... using the systematic alien verification for entitlements program," text of the bill revealed.

Keller advanced the legislation as an emergency, which - unchanged - would make the law effective immediately upon signature by Gov. John Kasich.

Seven fellow House members joined Keller to cosponsor the measure.

HB 179 is yet to be assigned to a committee for hearing.

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

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