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GOP Senate Hopeful Mandel Pushes to Criminalize Sanctuary Cities in Ohio

photo of downtown Columbus
City of Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order stating law enforcement will not detain people solely on their immigration status. Similar steps were taken in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati and Columbus are the latest Ohio cities to adopt policies making them sanctuary cities for immigrants and refugees. One state official wants to stop those cities from doing so.

Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel is throwing his support behind a proposed House bill  that bans local governments from declaring themselves “sanctuary cities.” Mandel says this can prevent acts of terror.

“It’s been the exact pattern in cities throughout Europe, and what we’re trying to do here is keep cities in Ohio and cities in America safe from radical Islamists.”

Mandel's fundraising letter following his push to criminalize sanctuary cities.

Click here for more on what a sanctuary city is.

The bill would hold local officials criminally liable if undocumented immigrants in their cities commit crimes. Mandel, who’s running for U.S. Senate, listed examples of violent crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants.

None were acts of terror. And citizenship status wasn’t listed as a motivation for any of the crimes. There's no word on whether the bill is a priority for Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. 

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley released a written statement calling Mandel’s argument a straw man for his political ambition, adding that Mandel is  demonizing refugees in the process.

Mandel's Senate campaign sent out a campaign solicitation today drawing attention to his fight against sanctuary cities. 

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.