Last week Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed a bill to prohibit sanctuary policies in Arkansas.
Senate Bill (SB) 411 amends Arkansas Code Title 14, Chapter 1, Subchapter 1, to include a provision prohibiting municipalities from adopting sanctuary policies. It also established that municipalities determined to be in violation of the law would be ineligible to receive state funds or grants until the policy was repealed. SB 411 defined a sanctuary policy as “an order, ordinance, or law enforcement policy, whether formally enacted or informally adopted by custom or practice” that limits municipal officials from cooperating with federal agencies to verify immigration status or from complying with federal detainer requests.
The legislation is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2020.
Hutchinson said he opposed sanctuary cities but did not “see any change in policy going forward that would be disruptive to our society.” Arkansas had no sanctuary cities as defined by the bill at the time of its passage.
Supporters of the bill said it was meant to prevent cities in Arkansas from adopting sanctuary policies. Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R) said, “This is more a proactive measure to ward off something, some city in Arkansas saying, ‘hey, we’re going to set ourselves up as a sanctuary city.’” Opponents said the bill would damage the relationship between local law enforcement and the immigrant community.
Arkansas is one of 22 Republican trifectas.