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Vitter Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Vitter Introduces Legislation to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities

Bill would take away funding for cities that ignore immigration laws

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today introduced legislation to restrict Community Oriented Policing Services funding from going to cities with sanctuary policies that bar local law enforcement officials from inquiring as to the immigration status of suspects or reporting illegals to Immigration and Custom Enforcement for deportation.

"Despite laws requiring them to verify the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens, some municipalities have sanctuary policies that stand in clear opposition of federal requirements," said Vitter. "These policies instruct city employees and law officers not to notify the federal government of the presence of illegal aliens residing in their local communities."

To ensure compliance with federal law, Vitter's bill withholds COPS federal funding for cities that choose to violate the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The IIRIRA requires local governments to cooperate with Department of Homeland Security's ICE, but instead many cities have defied the law and have adopted sanctuary policies to protect illegal aliens from enforcement.

"Some of our largest cities practice sanctuary policies that protect and provide assistance to illegal aliens. My amendment instructs DOJ to withhold federal policing funds from those cities that continue their sanctuary city policies," said Vitter.

According to the Congressional Research Service more than $18 million in COPS funding was awarded to sanctuary cities in FY 2008.

"That is ridiculous and unacceptable, and this bill takes the necessary steps to ensure that municipalities who engage in this practice will no longer receive government funding under this program. Every day, thousands arrive in the United States and begin to work their way through a thorough and legal immigration process. To continue to provide these sanctuary cities with government-funded rewards is an insult to all of those immigrants who respect and follow the process," said Vitter.

Vitter also reintroduced legislation that requires that the identify of all individuals who are not American citizens to be verified through a social security number, a passport number and the country of issuance, an alien identification card number or any combination of the three in order to ascertain their immigration status for the purposes of opening banking or credit card accounts. To prevent the use of matricula cards as a form of ID, the bill specifically designates unexpired passports as the only acceptable form of identification issued by a foreign government.

"Some banks throughout Louisiana have already stated their intent to accept matricula ID cards as a form of identification. In doing so, they receive no guarantee that the individual presenting such a document is not an illegal immigrant or worse," said Vitter. "Preventing the use of questionabledocuments as an acceptable form of identification will add another layer of security to the banking process."

Vitter is Chairman of the Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus, a coalition of Republican senators focused on bringing about real immigration reform.

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