By Staff Writer
Feb 03, 2016 02:05 AM EST

Lawmakers in the State of Kansas are considering measures to ban sanctuary cities and withdraw state funding from cities with sanctuary policy. This is to create measures that would protect citizens from incidents like the murder of Kathryn Steinle last July.

According to the blog of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Kansas legislature is considering House Bill 2466 which prohibits Kansas counties and cities from instituting sanctuary policies that restrict local cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Kansas House Judiciary Committee hearing will be tomorrow, February 3.

There is no official legal definition of what a sanctuary city is but generally, the term refers to localities that help protect undocumented immigrants by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. NumbersUSA, a grassroots immigration-reduction organization, lists six Kansas counties as sanctuary cities: Butler County, Finney County, Harvey County, Johnson County, Sedgwick County, and Shawnee County.

State lawmakers claim that the anti-sanctuary cities measures would protect citizens from crimes like the July killing in San Francisco of Kathryn Steinle. The suspect to the killing, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was released from jail even though ICE agents wanted him detained for deportation. The killing ratcheted up anti-migrant rhetoric from among American conservatives. The GOP-dominated U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning sanctuary cities but Democrats blocked a similar measure in the U.S. Senate. ABC News quotes Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as saying that if sanctuary cities are not banned in Kansas, "it will only be a matter of time before someone is hurt or killed."

ABC News further reports that opponents of the ban on sanctuary cities say that people need to be able to call on the police for help without fear of deportation. Some Kansas sheriffs refuse to honor immigration officials' requests after a federal judge in in Oregon ruled that a woman's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when she was detained without probable cause in 2012. Shawnee County said it wouldn't honor federal immigration officials' requests to detain people beyond their release dates without a warrant or probable cause.