Washington state Governor and 2020 Democratic hopeful Jay Inslee on Wednesday night signed a so-called “sanctuary state" law, expanding policies already in place that protect illegal immigrants and obstruct federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Under the new rules, police officers will not be able to ask about someone’s immigration status except in limited circumstances. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be tasked with drawing up rules for courthouses, hospitals and government-run facilities where federal immigration officials look for illegal immigrants.
Wednesday's bill signing expands Inslee's 2017 executive order that imposed similar provisions on state agencies, which immigration advocates argued didn't go far enough.
The measure's state-wide requirements are expanded to all local law enforcement, including on the city and county level. These include the following, according to The Associated Press:
Under the bill, local law enforcement agencies are broadly prohibited from asking about immigration status or place of birth unless directly connected to a criminal investigation, and both local jails and state prisons are prohibited from complying with voluntary 'immigration holds' requested by federal authorities, or from notifying federal authorities when an immigrant is about to be released from their custody.
Local and state authorities are also broadly prohibited from sharing immigration information about people in custody with immigration authorities, except under a valid court order or where required by law.
Inslee on the signing said that Washington “will not be complicit in the Trump administration’s depraved efforts to break up hard-working immigrant and refugee families.”
"Our state agencies are not immigration enforcement agencies," said the governor. "We will not be complicit in the Trump administration's depraved efforts to break up hard-working immigrant and refugee families."
This comes just days after it was revealed that two MS-13 gang members involved in the brutal murder of a 14-year-old girl in Maryland had come to the U.S. as child “refugees,” had been arrested at least once before for violent crimes, and were released by local authorities without notifying ICE, as MRCTV reported. Maryland Democrats were recently again pushing legislation to make Maryland a "sanctuary state" for illegal immigrants.
Washington state Republicans such as Sen. Phil Fortunato oppose the new "sanctuary" measure, saying that it “not only puts law enforcement at risk, it puts private citizens at risk.”
Washington joins states Oregon and California “as having some of the nation’s strongest sanctuary policies,” writes Fox News.