Nevada bill requires cause to hold undocumented immigrant |

Nevada bill requires cause to hold undocumented immigrant

Ryan Tarinelli
Associated Press

A stream of opponents argued before lawmakers Friday against a Democrat-backed bill that stipulates police must have probable cause before holding an undocumented immigrant for federal authorities.

Opponents said the legislation would jeopardize public safety and voiced fears of violent crime from undocumented immigrants. One argued the bill forces law enforcement to ignore ongoing criminal activity.

However, some law enforcement agencies spoke in support of the bill.

“We do not do field immigration enforcement,” said Chuck Callaway, a lobbyist for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department. “That’s not our job, that’s the job of the federal government. So (for) officers in the field, we have a strict policy (of) not asking people their immigration status. We’re not checking people’s papers in the field.”

Callaway said the bill would not change anything about the agency’s current operation and officers will still be able to notify federal immigration authorities if an undocumented immigrant is arrested and taken to jail.

Bill sponsor Assemblyman Edgar Flores says the legislation aims to address community concerns that local police might hold a person for federal immigration authorities solely because they are an undocumented immigrant.

“It is a step in the right direction, in my opinion,” the Democrat told a panel of lawmakers at a bill hearing Friday. “But it is not in any way going to change law enforcement’s cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.”

Flores said the bill would not create so-called sanctuary cities. A dozen Assembly Democrats, including Flores, have signed on in support of the legislation.