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Vitter Offers Amendment to Curb Sanctuary Policies

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Vitter Offers Amendment to Curb Sanctuary Policies

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today offered an amendment to the FY 2009 budget resolution 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. This amendment would create a reserve fund for Vitter's legislation that would prevent federal assistance from going to sanctuary cities that chose to ignore immigration laws and create havens for illegal aliens.

"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. "It is hard to believe, but these are formal policies that 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 amendment would create in the budget a reserve fund for his bill to block federal funds for the Community Oriented Policing Services Program from going to governments and municipalities 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.

"Sanctuary policies have the potential to create havens for illegal aliens, criminals and even terrorists," Vitter said. "This is entirely unacceptable and grossly irresponsible. We should be taking steps at all levels of government to ensure the safety of our citizens, not enacting measures that encourage illegal immigration and endanger lives.

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

"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.

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