State House Panel Advances Sanctuary City Bill

A state House committee has approved a measure that would ban sanctuary cities in Louisiana and give the state's Attorney General the authority to withhold state funds from police agencies fail to cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities.

The bill proposed by Representative Valarie Hodges of Denham Springs, now moves on to the full House for consideration.

Meanwhile, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu has released a statement in which he says the city is in "full compliance" with federal law.

"Rather than attacking cities and law enforcement, and scapegoating immigrants, the federal government should focus its resources on helping make our cities safer,” said Landrieu. “Under any practical definition, New Orleans is not a sanctuary city. Our policies help law enforcement work with our community. I am glad the federal courts have stepped in but this fight is far from over."

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, Landrieu also said there is no evidence that MS-13 and other trans-national gangs operate or have a presence in New Orleans. The mayor said a recent audit of gangs and groups in New Orleans did not find a single Latino-dominated group, nor a single immigrant among the over 2000 individual members in the audit. 

"The problem we face, which is nonetheless serious, is from loosely organized, local neighborhood gangs and groups," Landrieu wrote.

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