Grassley: Administration needs to crack down on sanctuary cities

Sanctuary City SanchezFrom Press Release


U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley expressed frustration with the administration’s unwillingness to take action against communities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials’ efforts to deport criminal aliens.

Some state and local governments and law enforcement jurisdictions have adopted policies and practices to refuse to cooperate with federal detainer requests to hold individuals who are in the country illegally.  Detainers are issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that certain individuals can be held by local law enforcement until they can be transferred to federal immigration officials for deportation.  The administration’s increasingly lax approach to enforcement of the laws has allowed these so-called “sanctuary cities” to ignore the federal requests, and release criminals back into communities.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Grassley asked for details related to cases in which federal detainers or requests for notification of the release of a criminal alien have been ignored, leading to avoidable crimes.  Grassley also implored Lynch and Johnson to take action to reverse “sanctuary city” policies and restore programs that promote collaboration between local and federal officials to prioritize the removal of dangerous criminals.

Grassley’s letter follows a series of crimes by individuals who were shielded from federal immigration officials by “sanctuary cities,” including the recent San Francisco shooting of Kathryn Steinle by Francisco Lopez-Sanchez.  Lopez-Sanchez had been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times prior to the shooting.  In a media interview following the shooting, he admitted to moving to San Francisco because he knew local officials would not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Grassley’s letter may be read by clicking here.