A bill proposed by a U.S. representative from Pennsylvania will cut off all federal funding to state, county and local jurisdictions with sanctuary policies.
“Not one cent,” Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) told Breitbart Texas in an interview on Thursday morning. “These mayors, sheriffs, and state leaders are thumbing their noses at federal immigration law. The only way to stop them is to hit them in their pocketbooks.”
He said the leaders of these sanctuary jurisdictions are not just choosing to violate federal law, “they’re bragging about it in press conferences.”
Mayors across the country have been lining up in droves to declare themselves sanctuary cities, Breitbart Texas reported in November 2016. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “Chicago always will be a sanctuary city,” NPR reported. “To all those who are, after Tuesday’s election, very nervous and filled with anxiety … you are safe in Chicago, you are secure in Chicago and you are supported in Chicago.” His comments come in the face of the city’s massive crime and murder rates. By the end of the year, Chicago would approach 800 murders by the end of 2016.
In Texas, a newly sworn-in sheriff, dubbed by her opponent in the race with the moniker “Sanctuary Sally,” told the Travis County budget director she would no longer be able to certify her department was in compliance with laws requiring cooperation with immigration officials. The move will put her department, and county residents, at risk of losing $1.8 million in state funding. Federal funding could also be stripped under existing law.
“This is a perfect example,” Barletta told Breitbart Texas. “They’re making a mockery of our laws.”
Barletta said his bill, the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83 (attached below), strengthens the current law, 8 U.S.C. § 1373, being used to strip law enforcement grants from sanctuary jurisdictions. “My bill will enhance this by stripping all federal funds–not one cent.”
Representative John Culberson (R-TX) worked with the DOJ throughout 2016 to force the department to certify the top-ten sanctuary jurisdictions and use this existing law to cut off their funds for grants awarded in 2017.
“When I originally introduced this bill in my first session, there were 80 cities that were considered sanctuary cities,” the third-term congressman said. “Now that number has grown to more than 300 because we didn’t do anything about it when there were only 80. We’re putting the American people in danger.”
He cited the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco as an example of a sanctuary city putting Americans’ lives at risk. Steinle was murdered in July 2015 by an illegal immigrant who had been released from jail months earlier by the sheriff who refused to honor an immigration detainer. He had previously been deported five times.
Since that time, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee doubled down on his city’s sanctuary status.
“San Francisco is a sanctuary city and will not waiver in its commitment to protect the rights of all its residents,” Lee told local reporters.
A frustrated Barletta said, “It’s time to stop talking about it and start taking action against these sanctuary cities.”
“The good in this bill,’ he explained, “is that if we stop these cities now, there might not be any more Kate Steinles.”
“Until we do, there will continue to be more Kate Steinles–more Americans killed at the hands of illegal aliens that should have been deported after being in jail,” Barletta said. “Everyone will be outraged, but we will know we could have done something about it.”
His bill awaits a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlate (R-VA) before it can move to the House floor for a vote.
Chairman Goodlatte has been harshly critical of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over sanctuary cities. “While I agree that sanctuary city policies are unacceptable, it’s hypocritical for Secretary Johnson to criticize sanctuary cities while at the same time refusing to take the steps necessary to end these reckless policies,” Goodlatte said to outgoing DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson during a hearing in September 2015.
Barletta concluded. “To me, there’s no gray area here–Right is right, wrong is wrong, and illegal is illegal.”