Anti-Sanctuary Bill Passes North Dakota House of Representatives
FAIR Take | January 2023
The North Dakota House of Representatives recently passed a bill to ban dangerous sanctuary policies in the state.
House Bill (HB) 1155, sponsored by Representative Matthew Heilman (R-Bismarck), was introduced when the legislature convened on January 3. The bill prohibits sanctuary policies not only by local governments (sanctuary cities and counties) but also by public institutions of higher education (sanctuary campuses).
Rep. Heilman says he was motivated to sponsor the bill because “[t]he southern border is in utter disarray, and federal authorities have totally failed us when it comes to immigration and protecting our border. And you see all these sanctuary cities on the coast and down south, and it’s more so just a proactive piece of legislation to prevent that sort of thing from happening here.”
The bill moved quickly through the House, passing the Committee on Political Subdivisions by a vote of 11-3 on January 12, and the full House by 80-11 on January 16, both along party lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. In debate, Rep. Jayme Davis (D-Rolette) said he was opposing the bill because “international college students shouldn’t be penalized for overstaying their educational visas to complete an internship.” Student visas are eligible for extension but just like anyone else if students overstay their visas they are no longer lawfully present in the United States.
Although the Senate has not yet referred HB 1155 to a committee, and there is no Senate companion bill, there is every reason to expect it will pass the upper chamber. In addition to Rep. Heilman and its seven House cosponsors, the bill also already has four Senate cosponsors. Republicans control the North Dakota Senate with forty seats to the Democrats’ seven.
Should both chambers pass the bill, there appears every reason to expect Governor Doug Burgum (R) would sign it. The governor joined the American Governors Border Strike Force in April 2022, saying “[w]ith the Biden administration failing to address the crisis at the southern border, our states are coming together to share information, coordinate law enforcement training and review existing laws to protect our citizens from the dangerous consequences of record-breaking illegal immigration and ensure that drug trafficking, human trafficking and other border-related crimes are investigated and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
The North Dakota legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 28, giving the Senate plenty of time to pass HB 1155 and send it to the governor.