From the Office of Rep. Vern Buchanan, FL-16:
Responding to new reports that major American cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, will continue providing “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants, Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged swift congressional action to end such policies.
“Public safety must be our top concern,” Buchanan said in calling for passage of two important bills – Kate’s Law and the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, which would cut federal funding to any city that refuses to enforce immigration laws. Kate’s Law would toughen penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported. Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and was convicted of seven felonies.
Both bills should be brought up and passed immediately by Congress, Buchanan said, noting that President-elect Trump has expressed support for stripping federal funds from sanctuary cities.
“Taxpayers should not be supporting cities that ignore federal law,” Buchanan said. “While we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Our number one priority should be targeting criminals that are here illegally.”
Within the last week, mayors and leaders in Washington, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Minneapolis have all pledged to retain their city’s sanctuary status in public defiance of federal immigration law.
“Congress must act to protect Americans from criminals and make every state and city across the country enforce the laws on the books,” Buchanan said.
The term “sanctuary city” refers to a municipality that provides safe harbor to illegal immigrants, which dangerously undermines our nation’s law enforcement efforts.
The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act strips federal funding from communities that prohibit law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration officers. More than 400 jurisdictions across the country have some sort of sanctuary law, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ten of the largest sanctuary jurisdictions in the U.S. received $700 million in block grants in 2016 alone.
Kate’s Law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for any illegal immigrant that has previously been deported and re-enters the country.
“Washington needs to send a clear message to sanctuary cities – if you don’t follow the laws, you don’t get federal funding,” Buchanan said. “It is dangerous and unconscionable that so many cities across the country blatantly ignore the rule of law and still get rewarded with taxpayer dollars.”
Several of the nation’s leading law enforcement and immigration organizations have endorsed the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary City Policies Act, including the National Sheriff’s Association, National Association of Police Organizations, and Federation for American Immigration Reform.