As controversial legislation stalls, immigration debate looms large over Nevada

It seemed like a simple idea: provide Nevada immigrants with a modicum of security in an uncertain time by preventing law enforcement from engaging in certain federal immigration activities that they’ve said they have no interest in doing.

At least that was Democratic Sen. Yvanna Cancela’s goal when she introduced SB223 in February that would have barred state and local police from participating in federal immigration activities without a warrant. But after more than a month of behind-the-scenes conversations between Cancela, law enforcement officers and immigration advocates and a proposed amendment to the bill that would’ve more narrowly impinged on law enforcement, a hearing on the legislation last week was canceled and the bill’s sponsors have stated that they see no path forward for the measure in the wake of staunch police opposition to the measure.

Conversations about immigration have again come to the fore since President Donald Trump took office in January, and his campaign promises have stirred fear in the hearts of immigrants, legal and not, since he first made them: Will he really build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border? Does he really want to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants? Is it safe to apply for a green card?

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