Immigration Reform News: GOP Lawmakers Abandon 'Sanctuary City' Bill
Senate legislation addressing "sanctuary cities" hit a roadblock in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., introduced the "Stop Sanctuary Cities Act" (S.1814) in July, with co-sponsorship of Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and it would make it illegal for any state or political subdivision to not comply with federal immigration officials on information pertaining to an individual's citizenship or immigration status. The bill would also make it unlawful for any jurisdictions to not comply with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's request of an immigrant detainee.
The term "Sanctuary city" has used for jurisdictions that does not comply with federal immigration officials' request regarding a detainee or asking for their legal status. Some "sanctuary cities" include Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, previously stated the bill would hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable by requiring the Executive Branch to withhold select federal funding if states or local law enforcement refuses to cooperate with the federal government in holding or transferring a criminal immigrant.
Since July, the bill has been in the Senate Judiciary Committee. S.1814 was scheduled to be marked up on Thursday, but a committee spokesperson said there will be a delay.
"The members are still working on improving the language, so it will be held over," said Beth Levine, a spokesperson for Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley, via Politico.
As Latin Post reported, the bill's focus on "sanctuary cities" was a response to the death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by an undocumented immigrant, who was deported on five previous occasions due to drug-related felonies.
League of United Latin American Citizens National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. said the bill was another attempt to avoid comprehensive immigration reform and enact "radical" legislation, pushed forward by anti-immigrant members of Congress.
"The bill would have undermined attempts by local communities to build trust between the immigrant community and local law enforcement, and would have forced more immigrants back into the shadows," said Rocha, Jr. in a statement. "LULAC hopes that Congress will look past piecemeal approaches to immigration reform and instead, focus on enacting comprehensive immigration reform that does not penalize hard-working immigrant families."
The topic of sanctuary cities, however, is not a partisan issue. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson spoke against sanctuary city policies on Tuesday.
"It is counterproductive to public safety to have this level of resistance to working with our immigration enforcement personnel," said Johnson, adding, "It is simply, in my judgment, not acceptable to have no policy of cooperation with immigration enforcement. We're all interested in getting criminals off the street."
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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