Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) and 32 of his Democratic colleagues introduced the Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act, which ensures that federal funds cannot be unduly withheld from any state or local authority that limits or restricts compliance with a voluntary immigration detainer request.
"Immigrants have always been and will continue to be integral members of our communities, contributing greatly to all aspects of our way of life from education and science to art and culture to economic growth and national security," said Rep. Quigley. "We must use the vast resources at our disposal to advance comprehensive immigration reform, not coercive funding conditions, which are ineffective and harmful to anyone living in a "sanctuary' city--citizen or not. I am proud to introduce this legislation to protect those seeking safety, security, and the American Dream in Chicago and other cities across the nation."
"President Trump's executive order to halt federal funding to municipalities that do not cooperate with his anti-immigrant agenda would undermine the efforts of police departments to invest in community policing strategies that ultimately strengthen their ability to fight crime and develop strong relationships with the public they serve," said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). "It will turn neighbor against neighbor, inhibit police departments' ability to partner with communities and devastate city budgets and services."
Last week's executive action by President Trump signals the first step in his efforts to target "sanctuary" cities by threatening them for not complying with certain federal immigration laws. This action violates the Tenth Amendment, which emphasizes the limited nature of the federal government's power to enforce states to enforce their laws. More than 300 cities, states, and countries currently qualify for the term "sanctuary" and most of these jurisdictions have policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration law, specifically complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. Unlike criminal detainers, which are supported by a warrant and require probable cause, there is no requirement for a warrant and no established standard of proof for issuing an ICE detainer request. Attempts to strip funding from these jurisdictions will most likely come from essential programs within the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Both of these agencies provide grants to help cities with local law enforcement to hire officers, bolster prosecutions, provide drug treatment, and prepare for terrorist attacks. Furthermore, research shows that withholding funding to sanctuary cities can result in increased incident reports and police response times, increase in prescription drug abuse, and an increased rate of recidivism in these communities.
Co-sponsors of the Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act include Reps. Nanette Barragan (CA), Donald S. Beyer Jr. (VA), Earl Blumenauer (OR), Judy Chu (CA), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Keith Ellison (MN), Adriano Espaillat (NY), Ruben Gallego (AZ), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Rick Larsen (WA), Ted Lieu (CA), Carolyn Maloney (NY), Doris Matsui (CA), Betty McCollum (MN), James McGovern (MA), Gregory Meeks (NY), Gwen Moore (WI), Jerrold Nadler (NY), Grace Napolitano (CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ), Jamie Raskin (MD), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Jose Serrano (NY), Adam Smith (WA), Darren Soto (FL), Dina Titus (NV), Paul Tonko (NY), Juan Vargas (CA), Nydia Velazquez (NY), and Peter Welch (VT).
"LGBTQ immigrants are often among the most vulnerable populations in our nation. Fostering a good working relationship with local law enforcement is critical to keeping all members of our communities safe. Sanctuary Cities are proven to do exactly that. Immigration Action Fund is proud to support Rep. Quigley and the Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities bill," said Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director of Immigration Equality Action Fund.
Rep. Quigley has been a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform throughout his time in Congress and has pushed Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. More recently, Rep. Quigley offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Homeland Security appropriations bill that would prohibit the detention of immigrant children and families in our nation's immigration detention centers, saving over $345 million in taxpayer dollars from family detention and reinvesting that money into more humane and cost-effective Alternatives to Detention. He used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to highlight the need for Congress to protect undocumented immigrants from abuse in detention centers, reject unconstitutional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers, and end a mandated detention bed quota that wastes millions of dollars annually. Rep. Quigley also led a letter urging President Obama to take executive action to enact more human immigration deportation and detention policies.