There are serious costs and public safety risks associated with sanctuary cities releasing potentially deportable criminal aliens back into American communities, according to the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary committees.
In advance of a Senate vote expected this month on legislation targeting sanctuary cities, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) are highlighting the repercussions of sanctuary jurisdictions’ refusal to cooperate with immigration authorities.
In a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldaña dated Thursday, the pair pointed to a four-day ICE enforcement sweep in Southern California in which many of the 244 alien criminals ICE apprehended were said to have been released by sanctuary cities.
The majority of the criminal aliens arrested had serious and/or violent felony convictions, including sex crimes against children, weapons charges, and drug convictions. The rest had “significant or multiple misdemeanors.”
“Disturbingly, based on statements made by ICE, it appears that these dangerous felons who entered the country illegally were freely roaming our streets due in part to sanctuary city policies at the state and local level,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.
They went on to quote agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice’s comments to the Los Angeles Times about the operation’s connection to such policies. “One of the challenges we’re facing is because of state law and local policies, more individuals who are potentially deportable with significant criminal histories are being released onto the street instead of being turned over to ICE,” they quoted in the letter.
The two lawmakers further requested detailed criminal and immigration histories about the 244 criminal aliens arrested in the sweep as well as the total cost for the four-day operation.
“Operations such as the four-day manhunt in question involve costs to the federal taxpayer and inherent safety risks – both of which could be avoided if state and local jurisdictions simply agreed to hold these dangerous criminal aliens until ICE can take them into custody,” Grassley and Goodlatte wrote.