Effort underway to end sanctuary cities

Money 2By Bob Eschliman


If you want to ignore federal law and harbor those who have entered the U.S. illegally, it’s going to cost you if new legislation proposed in the U.S. Senate becomes law.

The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, introduced Wednesday by a coalition of U.S. senators including U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would withhold certain federal funding from sanctuary states or cities that fail to comply with Department of Homeland Security issued detainer requests for people in the country illegally. The bill would redirect these funds to states and localities that follow the law.

Currently, there are approximately 170,000 convicted criminal aliens who have been ordered to be deported, but remain at large in the United States. More than 200 cities currently provide safe-haven as sanctuary cities. Several Iowa counties currently require a local court order before they will comply with detainer requests.

“This is a fair and appropriate approach for Congress to take in response to the thousands of federal immigration detainers being ignored and the need to keep illegal immigrants who have previously committed felonies off the streets,” Grassley said. “We’ve seen far too many people hurt because of sanctuary policies – whether aided by the Obama administration or the fact that our state and local governments are afraid of getting sued.  The families of these victims deserve better of their government.”

As written at introduction, this legislation:

  • Defines a sanctuary jurisdiction as a state or locality that prohibits its law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials, even if they wish to do so;
  • Provides transparency by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to publicly list which jurisdictions are deemed sanctuary jurisdictions;
  • Withholds certain federal funds and grants from sanctuary jurisdictions;
  • Requires that those withheld funds are re-allocated and made available to other state and localities jurisdictions that allow their local law enforcement to cooperate with federal officials;
  • Confirms that local law enforcement have the legal authority to cooperate with federal immigration officials if they wish, while protecting individuals’ civil rights and preserving individuals’ ability to sue for violations of civil and constitutional rights.
  • Kate’s Law: Establishes a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for illegal immigrants who are convicted of re-entering the U.S. after being convicted of an aggravated felony or being convicted of having illegally re-entered the U.S. twice prior.

Joining Grassley in support of the bill are Sens. David Vitter, Pat Toomey, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, John Cornyn, Dan Sullivan, David Perdue, Johnny Isakson, Marco Rubio and John Barrasso. The legislation is supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriffs Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and the International Union of Police Associations.