A Senate Judiciary Committee rejects a proposal to end sanctuary policies in Louisiana.

The measure by Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges would end policies that discourage law enforcement from contacting immigration authorities if they encounter an illegal immigrant.

The proposal would prevent cities with such policies from receiving state grants. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell says he couldn’t see how this bill would improve public safety, as proponents argued it would.

“Please point out an example to me where law enforcement let out someone who is an illegal immigrant who committed a crime for some special reason,” Morrell said.

Proponents claimed the measure has the support of law enforcement, but Morrell noted no police officer cam to testify in support of the bill. One supporter even argued that if an illegal immigrant gets arrested with no identification, police officers would let them go. Morrell says that’s nonsense.

“There is no special dispensation where if you cannot prove your identity you get out of jail. If that were the case, everyone’s who’s arrested would throw their driver’s license out the window so they could get out quickly,” Morrell said.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison spoke in opposition, saying it’s all about building trust and providing public safety. He notes that New Orleans is not a sanctuary city and has federally approved policies in place. He says if this bill passed, it would hurt their ability to maintain public safety.

“People are not reporting because of their fear, which makes our crime pattern and our statistics flawed, which means we can’t adequately deploy, which makes officers unsafe, which makes citizens unsafe,” Harrison said.

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