LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Matt Bevin made an announcement regarding sanctuary city policies in Kentucky Friday.
He was joined by state lawmakers, law enforcement officials and representatives from the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security for the announcement at the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 in Lexington.
A 'sanctuary city' is a city were municipal laws tend to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation or prosecution. Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton's office confirmed to LEX 18 that Lexington is not a sanctuary city.
"Although we are continuing to review this proposed legislation, it does not appear to conflict with any of our long-standing policies. Lexington is not a sanctuary city. Lexington is one of the safest cities of its size in the country because of our law enforcement partnerships. We have achieved that level of public safety by allowing our police to focus on local crime," said Gorton.
The mayor's office said that every person who has been arrested and taken to jail in Lexington is asked if they are an American citizen during their booking process at the jail. Federal agencies have access to those records, according to the mayor's office. They say that when federal agencies ask the city to detain a person, they do so, and they give federal agents time to come pick the person up. They also clarified that Lexington Police currently will help federal agencies in special circumstances, including court orders.
Bevin started the news conference by saying that it was "not about immigration." He went on to say that, "America is great because of diversity."
Bevin, Senator Danny Carroll, and Representative John Blanton are proposing a sanctuary bill they say will prevent local elected officials from passing ordinances that will prevent local officers from helping other agencies.
They emphasized, "this isn't about immigration," a phrase heard several times during the conference.
The bill would ban local elected officials in Kentucky from making their cities Sanctuary Cities. He believes the bill gives clarity.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders said that the proposed bill will help all law enforcement work together, which he said was necessary for them to do their jobs.
Gov. Bevin says this law will do three things:— Karolina Buczek (@Karolina_Buczek) July 12, 2019
1️⃣ Define what a sanctuary city is
2️⃣ Make clear that no sanctuary areas (cities, etc.) will be allowed in KY - meaning local police can help other law enforcement groups
3️⃣Makes clear that state lawmakers make the laws of KY pic.twitter.com/FeGTDlwHLJ