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Washington governor signs ‘sanctuary state’ legislation into law
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Washington governor signs ‘sanctuary state’ legislation into law

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation Wednesday that makes Washington a so-called “sanctuary state.”

Senate Bill 5497 is described as “relating to establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.” It codifies Inslee’s previous February 2017 executive order.

The law prohibits law enforcement authorities, including state and local prisons, from inquiring about immigration status or place of birth unless that information is directly relevant to the investigation. It also encourages, public schools, health facilities, shelters and courthouses to refrain from immigration enforcement “to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and state law.”

The new Section 5 reads as follows:

Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, no state agency, including law enforcement, may use agency funds, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to investigate, enforce, cooperate with, or assist in the investigation or enforcement of any federal registration or surveillance programs or any other laws, rules, or policies that target Washington residents solely on the basis of race, religion, immigration, or citizenship status, or national or ethnic origin. This subsection does not apply to any program with the primary purpose of providing persons with services or benefits.

Washington joins California and Oregon, which have also enacted sanctuary state legislation.