LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metro Council passed an ordinance Thursday night that prevents Metro Government employees from questioning someone's immigration status.

It's similar to a policy LMPD enacted last month.

"Women who are in abusive relationships have stopped calling police on their husbands or partners because they've seen their neighbors be deported by LMPD and ICE," said Jesus Ibanez with Mijente Louisville.

That fear of calling 911 in part inspired Metro Council members to pass the new ordinance.

"Its primary purpose is to make clear that local law enforcement is separate than federal civil immigration law enforcement," said Metro Councilman Brandon Coan.

The separation ordinance makes sure police officers do not enforce immigration law, and it extends to all Metro Government employees. It says local law enforcement officers cannot work with U.S. immigration and customs enforcement agents unless a judge signs a warrant or ICE says there's a violent threat to the public. 

"Public safety officials may not question, arrest or detain any person for violations of federal civil immigration law," Coan said.

The measure passed 16-7 with most Republicans opposing it.

"I have a real problem going against federal law and what the federal law is talking about," said Metro Councilwoman Julie Denton.

The county attorney's office ensures the act does not prevent police from investigating criminal activity. It also does not ban communication between the police and ICE.

But those fighting for sanctuary said the move is more than symbolic.

"It is not a sanctuary city at all," Ibanez said. "It's a concrete step that signals to individuals that Louisville is truly a compassionate city."

You can read the full ordinance below.

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