The sponsors of a City Council measure that would have made Honolulu a “sanctuary city” have decided not to pursue its passage after it generated considerable opposition.

Bill 31, which was introduced by Councilwomen Ann Kobayashi and Carol Fukunaga before the full council June 5, would have barred the Honolulu Police Department from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement agencies in many instances.

Kobayashi and Fukunaga declined to comment on the bill, but released a joint statement explaining why they decided to drop it.

Honolulu City Council member Ann Kobayashi with left, member Carol Fukunaga.
Honolulu City Councilwomen Carol Fukunaga, left, and Ann Kobayashi had sponsored Bill 31. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“Bill 31 was introduced after we received repeated requests for assurances that Honolulu’s law enforcement officers were there to enforce, first and foremost, the laws of the State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu,” Kobayashi and Fukunaga said in the statement. “Given the reaction we have seen from the community, no further discussion will take place on this matter.”

The bill would have restricted the police department from detaining and transferring immigrants on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while also preventing the department from providing information to ICE regarding an immigrant’s location or jail release date.

The measure included several exceptions allowing the department to honor these requests if ICE had a judicial warrant or if the individual had committed a felony or was a repeat misdemeanor offender during the previous five years.

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About the Author

  • Joel Lau
    Joel Lau is a Civil Beat summer news intern. He grew up on Oahu and graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy. He is a student at Boston University, majoring in journalism and political science, and plans to return there for his sophomore year in September. Follow him on Twitter @JoelLau808.