“You incentivize a lot of bad things,” Oklahoma senator files bill to ban sanctuary cities in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA - In response to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, cities across the country are declaring themselves sanctuary cities.

Wednesday, Cincinnati joined that list.

Right now, there are no cities in our state that have sanctuary policies.

Now, a bill filed in the Senate would cut funding to cities or counties that adopt sanctuary policies.

“When you incentivize illegal immigration, you incentivize a lot of bad things. There’s a trail of death from Honduras to the United States of America, and the families are giving their children and others over to coyotes and to human traffickers,” Sen. Ralph Shortey said.

There is no legal definition for sanctuary cities.

Some activist groups include Oklahoma City on the list of ‘de facto’ sanctuary cities, claiming they shield the immigrants even if they don’t have a written policy.

Leaders from our state universities to Mayor Mick Cornett have voiced strong support for refugees and immigrants.

“Obviously our primary function isn’t immigration,” OCPD Capt. Paco Balderrama said.

Oklahoma City Police say they will always help federal officials enforce immigration policy when asked, but the department is not seeking out illegal immigrants.

“We want people to call the police. And if there’s a certain percentage of our population who thinks we`re going to go door to door arresting people on immigration issues, they’re not going to call the police,” Capt. Balderrama said.

Up to 80,000 undocumented immigrants live in Oklahoma.

“We shouldn’t be encouraging an illegal population. It does no good for them, and it does no good for us,” Sen. Shortey said.

Under Shortey’s bill, a legislator could ask of an attorney general opinion before penalties would be enforced.