MONTANA — Montana Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed legislation banning sanctuary cities throughout the state earlier this week.
“We are a nation of laws, and immigration laws will be enforced in Montana,” Gianforte said in a statement.
The legislation allows the state’s attorney general to pursue civil action against jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal laws – though the measure is largely symbolic as the state does not currently have any sanctuary cities, Fox News reported.
Supporters of the bill claim sanctuary cities nationwide have led to increased criminal activity and the legislation will serve as a preemptive measure to ensure such actions do not arise in Montana.
Montana’s latest immigration bill will require cities across the state to cooperate with federal law enforcement agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
The state will also be able to withhold funding and grants for cities or counties that fail to comply with the legislation, according to Fox.
Undocumented migrants account for 12 percent of the state’s migrant population, equating to roughly 5,000 individuals – less than half a percent of the state’s total population in 2016, reported the American Immigration Council.
Former Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a similar bill in 2019.