In-Depth: Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) introduced this bill to prohibit sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal grants that offset the cost of incarcerating convicted unauthorized immigrants:
“Our government’s greatest responsibility is to protect the American people, and sanctuary city policies prevent us from fulfilling that duty. We are a nation of laws — and cities and politicians can’t pick and choose which rules to follow. It’s common sense that those unwilling to cooperate with federal authorities not be eligible to receive certain federal grant funding. The message this bill sends is clear: no person, state, or locality is above the law.”
This legislation has the support of five cosponsors in the House, including Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Doug LaMalfa (CA), Scott Perry (PA), and Lou Barletta (PA).
The House passed a bill known as Sarah and Grant’s Law228-195 that would cut off certain federal law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities, but it hasn’t been considered by the Senate.
Of Note: Sanctuary cities in particular have long been controversial and grew in popularity during the 2000s — reaching a total of more than 200 cities or states with variations of the policy.
They re-emerged in the news cycle in July 2015 in San Francisco after Kate Steinle's murder. San Francisco has been a sanctuary city since 1989, when an ordinance preventing local authorities from assisting federal immigration enforcement was passed. Learn more about the incident, the politics of the situation, and how immigration cases have been handled in San Francisco here.
The federal government has also expressed frustration with the sanctuary cities, as ICE officials are put in greater danger by having to apprehend the undocumented immigrants at their home than if they had been able to pick them up at the jail. Recently the agency has begun tracking the number of “detainer” requests they have sent to local authorities about immigrants they’ve arrest which are subsequently refused, and the subject of the request allowed to go free.
However, some have expressed skepticism that forcing sanctuary cities or states to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement would be helpful, with a former ICE director calling it a “highly counterproductive step” that would “lead to more resistance and less cooperation.”
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
/ Public Domain)