WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill that would have withheld federal funding from “sanctuary” cities that fail to follow federal rules connected to detainer requests for undocumented immigrants was blocked by Democrats Tuesday.
“Kate’s Law” as the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act was known, would have allowed local law enforcement to cooperate more fully with federal immigration authorities so that criminals deemed a priority for deportation are not released back into American communities.
Some law enforcement groups and the families of some victims had announced their support for the bill; however, Democrats filibustered the bill, this ending consideration of the bill in Congress at this time.
U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement after voting to proceed with Senate consideration of the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act.
“Law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels should have the opportunity and ability to work together to ensure that potentially dangerous criminals who have entered our country illegally are not set free. This commonsense legislation is an opportunity to discourage shortsighted and dangerous policies that often unfortunately end up protecting such criminals instead of our law-abiding U.S. citizens. Today’s vote was simply about keeping our communities safe by ensuring that DHS can coordinate with state and local law enforcement officials to assume custody of illegal immigrants who commit crimes before they are released back into the community.
“Ultimately, the safety and well-being of our citizens must be the chief priority of law enforcement officials at every level of government. While protecting individuals’ civil liberties, this bill removes the legal liability concerns that may have previously dissuaded state and local cooperation with DHS, thereby clearing the way for a collaborative effort to keep our communities safe.
“I’m disappointed by today’s outcome. Congress must continue to discuss the impact of sanctuary cities on our ability to effectively enforce immigration laws and prevent needless crime.”
Senator Charles Grassley echoed Ernst.
“Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from families of individuals who were killed by people illegally in the country – many of whom had already racked up multiple criminal convictions and deportations. Today, we had an opportunity to begin debating a proposal to fix this problem. Unfortunately, opponents turned the issue into a partisan attack, in favor of the status quo, in which many communities forbid law enforcement from working with federal officials to keep criminal illegal immigrants out of our communities. Filibustering a debate on policy that may have prevented the deaths of so many individuals is no way to honor their legacies.”