Vitter Disappointed in Failure of Anti-Sanctuary Cities Amendment
U.S. Sen. David Vitter today expressed disappointment in the failure of his amendment offered to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that would have instructed the Department of Justice to withhold federal Community Oriented Policing Services funding from sanctuary cities. The Senate voted to table his amendment 52 - 42.
"Once again, we are failing to acknowledge what the American people made very clear during this summer's immigration debate - we must get serious about securing our borders and fight the epidemic of illegal immigration. One key way to do that would have been to require our cities to actually enforce our immigration laws currently on the books to the fullest extent," said Vitter.
Vitter's amendment would have withheld COPS federal funding for cities that violate the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The IIRIRA requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but instead many cities have defied the law and have adopted "sanctuary policies" to protect illegal aliens from enforcement. Cities that practice sanctuary policies instruct city employees not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens living in their communities.
"Some of our largest cities practice sanctuary policies that protect and provide assistance to illegal aliens. My amendment would have instructed the DOJ to withhold federal policing funds from those cities that continue their sanctuary city policies," said Vitter.
The U.S. Department of Justice's COPS Office awards grants to state and local law enforcement agencies to advance community policing.
A similar amendment passed the U.S. House of Representatives during debate on the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.