Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel today backed a proposed state law to ban "sanctuary cities" in Ohio and hold municipal officials criminally and civilly liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
Mandel said he supports legislation to be introduced by a fellow Republican, freshman state Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown.
"This is about protecting parents and protecting kids here in Ohio," Mandel said in a telephone conference call this morning. "I believe we must have zero tolerance policy when the safety of our kids are at stake."
The bill would prohibit cities from sheltering refugees and immigrants who may be in the country illegally.
Mandel, who again is seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2018 to run against incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, singled out Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, both Democrats, as targets of the legislation.
"They are putting families at risk," Mandel said. "What they're doing is playing partisan politics and this is a non-partisan issue."
Columbus has not declared itself a sanctuary city, but has said it would not use resources to enforce efforts to expel immigrants.
Mandel accused Ginther and Cranley of "totally ignoring" incidents in Europe causes by terrorists and "sticking their head in the sand."
Cranley issued a statement in response to Mandel, saying, "Josh Mandel continues to falsely declare Cincinnati is violating federal laws — that is a blatant lie. We have not and will not violate federal laws. Mandel's proposal is a straw man for his political ambitions, demonizing refugees fleeing oppression in the process. We are standing with refugees and disagreeing with President Trump's executive orders, which is our First Amendment right to do. Mandel's attempt to jail people who disagree with the president is an outrageous attack on the First Amendment."
The proposal, which has not been introduced in the General Assembly, would make city officials criminally liable if a crime was committed by an undocumented immigrant. The crimes that would trigger a violation were not specified.
Officials could be charged with a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $5,000. A public official could he held personally liable for up to $1 million in damages if a person is injured by an immigrant.
Information provided by Mandel said the law would prohibit "any local jurisdiction from adopting or implementing a law, ordinance, rule, policy, or plan or taking any action that limits or prohibits an elected official, employee, or law enforcement officer from communicating or cooperating with an appropriate public official, employee, or law enforcement officer of the federal government concerning the immigration status of an individual residing in the state."
It would also prohibit "any local jurisdiction from deliberately obstructing immigration enforcement, restricting interaction with federal immigration agencies, or shielding illegal aliens from detection."
Mandel, who said recently that Cincinnati would become a sanctuary city "over our dead body," has repeatedly lashed out at "radical Islamic terrorists."
It is the first bill to be introduced by Keller, who was elected last fall.
She blamed immigrants and their "culture" for committing crimes, including assaults and rape, and bringing in "sexually transmitted diseases."
"My phone has been ringing off the hook with constituents in my district who are concerned about this," she said.
She said refugee resettlement is "not about humanitarianism, but about importing "cheap labor" and violence.
Kent Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said he had not seen the Mandel-Keller proposal. However, he said it would "almost certainly be an encroachment on the home rule powers granted to cities by the Ohio Constitution." [MORE]