U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) will hold a press conference today on their legislation to protect communities from violent criminals who are in the United States illegally.
The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S.1644) would put an end to dangerous sanctuary city policies – like the ones in Philadelphia and San Francisco – that forbid local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, even when they wish to do so, Blackburn said in a press release.
The senators will hold the press conference at 11:30 a.m. today in the Senate Radio & Television Gallery, S-325, in the Capitol.
Toomey introduced the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act in the Senate on May 23 and has 22 cosponsors. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Congressmen Tom McClintock (R-CA-04) and Darin LaHood (R-IL-18).
Toomey tweeted, “Sanctuary city policies pose a threat to public safety. I spoke with @CharlesFLehman from @FreeBeacon yesterday about my legislation to get local politicians to comply with federal immigration law.”
Sanctuary city policies pose a threat to public safety. I spoke with @CharlesFLehman from @FreeBeacon yesterday about my legislation to get local politicians to comply with federal immigration law. https://t.co/JzlkOWApa4
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) May 30, 2019
Toomey told The Washington Free Beacon that his goal is to remove incentives for cities to serve as sanctuaries.
More about the bill is here on Toomey’s website.
According to Toomey:
The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act would withhold certain non-law enforcement federal grant funds from “sanctuary cities” – jurisdictions that forbid their local law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials, even when they wish to do so.
The legislation also addresses court decisions that may leave local police and municipalities liable when they assist the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but the DHS has made an error. The measure preserves an individual’s right to sue if a law enforcement officer commits any violation of the individual’s civil or constitutional rights. However, his measure ensures that if the federal government committed the error or violated a right, the individual sues the federal government, not a local official acting in good faith and in compliance with a request from the DHS. The legislation also provides a safe harbor for jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials with regard to persons in the country illegally who come forward as victims or witnesses to a crime.
In 2016, Philadelphia police arrested Juan Ramon Vasquez (also known as Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa), a Honduran national in the U.S. illegally, for repeatedly raping his girlfriend’s 5 year old daughter. He is now serving an eight to 20 year sentence for those heinous crimes. Vasquez had been deported in 2009, only to re-enter the U.S. illegally. Philadelphia police had Vasquez in custody in 2015. But when DHS asked the city to hold him so it could come pick him up and deport him, Philadelphia officials refused. The city’s sanctuary city policy forbade its law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Instead, Vasquez was permitted to roam free and eventually raped a young child.
In February 2018, a bipartisan majority of senators voted in support of the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, but it did not receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Democratic senators who voted to support this measure included Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.