RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has vetoed a bill aimed at preventing so-called “sanctuary cities” in the state.

Northam, a Democrat, said the legislation is an unneeded burden on local law enforcement officials and “sends a chilling message.”

The Republican-backed legislation blocks cities and counties from passing laws that “restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws.”

A sanctuary city is a term without legal definition but generally means a locality that limits cooperation with federal immigration enforcement activities.

The bill narrowly passed the GOP-led General Assembly along party lines. Republicans have virtually no chance of getting the needed two-thirds majority to override the governor’s veto.