Even though there are NO Montana cities this cycle that are even toying with the idea of being a “sanctuary city”.
Even though illegal immigration is not a problem in Montana. (Most immigrants come from our northern neighbor, Canada).
Even though the state populations that are most excited about a border wall are the ones that literally have the LOWEST percentage of immigrants/deal with immigration the LEAST.
Even though Montana has serious concerns that this Legislature needs to tackle before their 90 days are up.
In spite of the above reality and facts, Kenneth Holmlund (R-Miles City) is plowing ahead with two anti-immigration, waste-of-time bills. HB 146 puts restrictions on Montana cities and communities from becoming “Sanctuary Cities”. HB 147 is a Referendum almost identical to HB 146, but if passed by both House and Senate, will appear on the 2020 ballot. Southeastern Montanans are very familiar with Holmlund’s backwards priorities and empty campaign talk — but it’s still pretty disappointing that he’s championing bills that put the fear-mongering on full display (and as of 2-5-19 Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, has signed on as a co-Sponsor for HB 146; you might remember Skees as sponsor of a similar 2017 piece of legislation that was no less repugnant which was, thankfully, killed by the Senate).
These bills contain similar tactics and language to the numerous pieces of legislation trotted out to various Legislatures around the country by the Federation For American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group with a very sketchy ideology (and by sketchy, we mean white supremacist). The MTGOP has been peddling these various bills session after session with multiple Governors exercising the veto pen. And year after year, we still don’t see any sanctuary cities in Montana. It’s almost like Holmlund and his colleagues have a solution in desperate search of a problem.
With this latest Referendum option in HB 147, they want YOU to be afraid: afraid of immigrants in Montana, afraid of brown people who move to Montana ready to contribute to our economy and communities, and afraid of amazing refugee programs like Soft Landing in Missoula. And they want you distracted by this manufactured fear so FEAR can be on the ballot in 2020. What a waste of Montanan’s time and energy.
Take a moment and learn about immigration in Montana and the value that immigrants bring to our various industries.
Additionally, HB 146 and 147 begin to strip away local control of law enforcement and replace it with fealty to federal forces — the sort of government oversight that Montanans traditionally eschew. In fact, Montana takes pride in occasionally thumbing their noses at federal attempts at oversight, because freedom. Whereas Holmlund and the MTGOP caucus is eager to welcome the Fed into our local sheriff, police, and justice departments — as long as they’re on board with the Fear Agenda.
Section 7 of HB 146 and 147 contains language pertaining to Indian Tribes and coal grants. This author is eager to hear from the Native American Caucus and Legislative Services on whether the language contained in Section 7 has implications regarding sovereignty or tribal rights. Read the text of HB 146 here. Read the text of HB 147 here.
“Sanctuary Cities” is a phrase that is tossed around often. What are they?
Voters need to ask themselves – HOW? How does this bill benefit Montanans? Instead of dealing with real problems and serving their constituents, Kenneth and Derek are fiddling about with make-believe boogeymen.
Montana has neither the money nor the time to waste on problems that don’t exist in our state.
Correction: this author mis-identified Skees’ current House District as Whitefish (which he previously represented circa-2010). In the current Legislature, Skees represents Kalispell. This author regrets the error and the post has been corrected.
It’s obvious that both Holmlund and Skees need an education about Immigration in Montana and in the United States as a whole, but this author is surprised that Skees (who used to represent the Whitefish district and is very much aware of the goings-on in his vicinity) doesn’t “know better” about associating with white supremacist outfits and/or taking legislative hints from similar organizations. Whitefish made their feelings on white supremacy and Nazi values obvious. Of all the heartfelt posters, stickers, banners, and messages this one (seen on a bumper sticker in Bozeman) speaks to our BIG SKY STATE, where there is room for ALL.
Maybe someone should send Skees and Holmlund a bumper sticker. It sends a way better message than their fear-mongering in chambers. Contact me privately, and I’ll spring for postage.