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CIS: Senate GOP Bill Targeting Sanctuary Cities A Decent Response To The Problem

The “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” is not comprehensive enough to address the myriad problems with immigration enforcement under the Obama administration. However it is an adequate response to the specific problem of sanctuary cities, according to the Center for Immigration policies.

That bill, introduced by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), is slated for a vote as early as next week.

It would restrict federal funds and grants to jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and redirect such funds to those that do. It also confirms local law enforcement’s ability to comply with federal immigration enforcement requests and increases the penalty for illegal immigrants who reenter the U.S. after being deported.

While the legislation does not take on what conservatives see as the breakdown of immigration enforcement under the Obama administration, CIS research fellow Dan Cadman says it is a decent response to sanctuary cities when considered against three key elements. In an analysis of the bill released Friday, Cadman detailed:

-First, it creates powerful disincentives by rendering sanctuary jurisdictions ineligible for significant grants in a range of areas.

-Second, it establishes incentives by ensuring that grant funds prohibited to sanctuary jurisdictions are redistributed to governments that cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. While the incentives do not go as far as those found in the Davis-Oliver Act bills, they are a good beginning in the context of a limited focus anti-sanctuary bill.

-Third, it provides state and local officers with immunities to the same extent enjoyed by federal immigration agents while engaged in cooperative enforcement efforts. In fact, it goes further by also transferring liability from state and local governments to the federal government under the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act.

Cadman and the pro-immigration enforcement group has advocated for adoption of the more comprehensive House Judiciary Committee approved Davis-Oliver Act, which would grant local officials the authority to enforce immigration law. The “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect American Act” has a more pointed aim, to confront sanctuary cities.

The focus on sanctuary cities in the halls of Congress has come in response to the national uproar over the July murder of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly by a multiple deportee illegal immigrant with a lengthy rap sheet. Steinle’s alleged shooter had been in police custody but was released some three months before Steinle was killed due to San Francisco’s sanctuary policy of ignoring detainers requested by federal immigration authorities.

“The Obama administration refuses to deal with the sanctuary problem, which has led to crimes such as the murder of Kate Steinle by a five-times-deported illegal-alien felon,” Cadman said Friday. “This bill addresses the sanctuary policies which result in thousands of criminal aliens being released into our communities to reoffend. Unfortunately, it is not as comprehensive as the Davis-Oliver Act, which would deal with the sanctuary policies and the administration’s deliberate suppression of enforcement.”

According to CIS there are about 340 sanctuary cities in the U.S. and those cities combined, release 1,000 criminal aliens per month.

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