Grassley, Goodlatte seek ‘swift action on sanctuary jurisdictions’

Homeland Security LogoFrom Press Release


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte today are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to back words with actions when dealing with state and local jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration requests. States, cities and counties that refuse to comply with the federal government for immigration enforcement purposes are commonly referred to as “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently said it is “not acceptable to have no policy of cooperation with immigration enforcement.”  However, the Department of Homeland Security has not taken demonstrable action to address the unwillingness of sanctuary jurisdictions to work with federal immigration authorities. More than 12,000 federal detainer requests were ignored by state and local jurisdictions in 2014.  Moreover, in June of this year, the administration rolled out a new program that reduces the “enforcement priorities” and announced it would not seek the custody of many criminals who are in the country illegally.

In a letter to Secretary Jeh Johnson, the lawmakers detailed three recent cases in which people have been assaulted or murdered by individuals who are in the country illegally.  In each case, the suspects were in law enforcement custody, but were later released because of a sanctuary policy or because of a lack of action taken by Homeland Security officials.

The lawmakers are requesting an update from the Department on its efforts to engage state and local law enforcement to promote greater cooperation with federal immigration requests. The full text of their letter to Johnson follows.