Immigration enforcement termed a state’s rights issue in Nevada Legislature |

Immigration enforcement termed a state’s rights issue in Nevada Legislature

Democratic leaders on Friday argued in support of Sen. Yvanna Cancela’s bill restricting state and local agencies from immigration enforcement, saying it’s a state’s rights issue.

Las Vegas Metro Police officials have expressed concern SB223 could cost them up to $9 million in federal funding. But, they said Metro has said they don’t want their officers to do U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s job.

The Trump Administration has suggested enlisting local law enforcement to track and detain illegal immigrants.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford said it’s the state’s right to set its priorities.

“The state has the right to spend our resources in ways that reflect our priorities,” said Frierson. “You can’t advocate for state’s rights only for things you like.”

SB223 would prohibit local law enforcement, including school and campus police, from detaining and transferring custody of a person to federal immigration authorities or employing someone who performs the function of an immigration officer.

In a Friday morning briefing, they said they intend to take up modifications to the weighted student funding formula Nevada uses to apportion money among public schools with the goal of allocating money toward students based on need.

But both leaders said they can’t make the changes all at once because, while that would expand funding for Clark and Washoe counties, it would hurt Nevada’s smaller counties.

“We need to allocate funding toward students based on need,” said Ford.

He said that’s going to cost more money to ensure the distribution of state funding matches the needs of different student groups such as English language learners, the gifted and talented and poor students. But he said since the urban counties have a larger percentage of those types of students, making the change all at once without added cash would hurt all the other counties in the state.

Frierson agreed saying the money should follow the students.

Frierson said he expects the Assembly to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, which he said is the anniversary of its original passage by Congress. Nevada’s Senate has already ratified the ERA for women.