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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

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Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 4810682

Reported Deaths: 70604
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3641044163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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