The Montana House passed a bill (HB 50) that would prevent local jurisdictions from declaring themselves illegal-alien sanctuaries. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.
The sanctuary policies prohibited under the bill restrict communications or cooperation between government employees and federal officials concerning suspected illegal aliens. For example, such policies limit the ability of police to check arrestees’ immigration status and prevent public assistance agencies from inquiring whether applicant is legally eligible for benefits.
Section 1373 of the United States Code prohibits state and local governments from prohibiting or in any way restricting government officials from sending immigration-status information to the Department of Homeland Security but this provision remains largely unenforced.
Some sanctuary cities claim their policies are needed because illegal aliens will not report crimes if they risk detection. However, federal law already protects witnesses and crime victims who are illegal aliens under the “U” visa. This visa allows those illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. to assist law officers.