Alvarado supports sanctuary cities proposal
Sen. Ralph Alvarado, son of Latin American immigrants, is backing a bill to prevent sanctuary cities in Kentucky and compel local law enforcement officers to work alongside federal authorities to round up illegal migrants.
The Winchester Republican is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 1, which is so named because it is the Senate GOP Caucus’s top priority. It passed the Judiciary Committee 7-2 Thursday and has been sent to the full Senate for a vote that will likely happen this week, he said.
Kentucky has no cities designated as sanctuaries, but Alvarado said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton have made statements that could be interpreted as being unsupportive of the idea of local police sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Gorton has said her city will cooperate when asked, but doesn’t have the resources to concentrate on enforcing immigration laws.
“It’s not going to require more than they’re already doing,” Alvarado said.
It would, however, forbid cities from refusing to cooperate.
Alvarado said the committee substitute he supports applies only to government agencies and would not require schools, universities or churches to participate.
Churches and faith-based groups have raised concerns that the measure would discourage immigrants from seeking help they may desperately need.
The senator said many people are concerned assistance should be provided first to citizens and legal residents.
Alvarado, a Winchester physician, was born in California. His father was from Costa Rica, and his mother from Argentina.
“My parents were immigrants to this country, and they came here because it was a country of law and order,” he said.
He said a large amount of dangerous drugs in the U.S. is coming across the border.
He doesn’t agree with Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s hard line against refugees, people fleeing persecution, who come here and turn themselves in to authorities at the border seeking asylum, but they need to be “vetted” to make sure that’s really what they are and that they seek refugee status in the proper way.
He said he also supports the “Dreamers,” college students who came here with their parents as children and have known no other home. They’re more American than they are anything else, he said.
But he is opposed to people coming here illegally from other countries.
SB 1 is sponsored by Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, and there is a companion bill in the House sponsored by another former police officer, Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville.
Rep. Les Yates, R-Winchester, is a cosponsor of that bill but declined to comment about it Monday.