STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Expanded sanctuary state rules advance in Washington

A proposal to expand Washington state's existing sanctuary state rules is moving forward in the Legislature, potentially strengthening an existing wall of West Coast states with such policies.

Posted: Mar 22, 2019 5:26 PM

By TOM JAMES The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A proposal to expand Washington state's existing sanctuary state rules is moving forward in the Legislature, potentially strengthening an existing wall of West Coast states with such policies.

The bill, from Mercer Island Democratic Sen. Lisa Wellman, would limit the ability of police to inquire about immigration status in noncriminal situations. It would also require schools, courthouses and other government facilities to adopt rules minimizing the risk of being used as staging grounds for immigration stops, along with other protections

The bill had a public hearing Friday in the House. It previously passed the Senate.

At the hearing, Wellman said the measure would protect the state's workforce in the agriculture, hospitality and high-tech sectors.

"We have 30 percent of Microsoft here on visas," Wellman said in an interview before the hearing. At the same time, she said, "You can't open a hotel if you don't have immigrants in back-of-house."

The bill would also prohibit state and local police from passing immigration status information to federal authorities unless required by law.

The protections would put Washington on par with — and in some areas beyond — Oregon and California, both of which have adopted their own sanctuary state policies.

Oregon, which in 1987 was the first state to adopt a statewide sanctuary policy, has a straightforward restriction on police spending any resources — including paid staff time — going after people who are in the country illegally but haven't committed other crimes.

California passed more robust protections in 2017, including yearly reporting requirements and a rule that authorities must get written consent from people they arrest before allowing them to be interviewed by immigration officers.

Washington has had limited sanctuary protections since 2017, when Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order generally limiting state police from helping with immigration enforcement, requiring state agencies to provide services regardless of immigration status, and blocking state agencies from asking about immigration status.

But Wellman's bill would expand on that by creating more specific limits on police, and applying them to local law enforcement as well as state officers. It would also require the state attorney general to set rules designed to minimize immigration stops at state facilities like courthouses.

The bill would also block police or prison agencies from using interpreters borrowed from federal immigration authorities, require detainees to be notified of their right to decline to be interviewed by federal authorities, and prohibit the state Department of Corrections from holding people at the request of immigration authorities.

Along with traditional immigration stops in public places, Wellman pointed to episodes including a short-lived January 2017 executive order by President Donald Trump barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries as creating uncertainty around immigration rules in the state.

At Friday's hearing, representatives of the Washington Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, a prominent advocacy group, said they were not opposed to the measure.

Reached before the Friday hearing, Enumclaw Rep. Morgan Irwin, the ranking Republican member on the committee, said he hadn't had a chance to look closely at the bill but was concerned it could hinder other types of coordination between local law enforcement agencies and their federal counterparts.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 9930

Reported Deaths: 213
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah241769
Marion161047
Washington153420
Clackamas82125
Umatilla7166
Union3551
Lincoln3463
Deschutes2110
Lane2083
Malheur1911
Polk15912
Linn1579
Jackson1470
Jefferson1320
Yamhill1328
Klamath1301
Benton935
Morrow931
Hood River880
Wasco881
Josephine521
Clatsop510
Douglas460
Coos420
Columbia360
Lake210
Tillamook140
Crook120
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman20
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 252895

Reported Deaths: 6334
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1078263457
Riverside19450479
Orange16191363
San Diego15696387
San Bernardino13676269
Imperial7039114
Alameda6556140
Fresno585177
Kern513081
Santa Clara5077160
Tulare4627136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento400469
San Francisco377650
Contra Costa356481
San Mateo3536108
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Marin271921
Kings260032
Stanislaus253144
Monterey191515
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer82811
San Luis Obispo7012
Yolo61325
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4553
Napa3764
San Benito2652
Sutter2433
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1484
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Glenn1220
Yuba1061
Tehama881
Lake870
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono451
Tuolumne430
Inyo331
Amador310
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 78°
Brookings
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 74°
Grants Pass
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 79°
Klamath Falls
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 74°
Sunny weather continues Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events