Trump Vs. Sanctuary Cities: Congress Ready to Help

Here to stay
File Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Cities across the country are lining up for a standoff with President Donald Trump over the issue of sanctuary city policies. Republican representatives in Congress are also lining up to put more teeth in existing law that already requires 100 percent cooperation with immigration authorities by local and state law enforcement agencies.

Border Patrol agents are reported to be on pace to apprehend nearly 600,000 migrants crossing our border illegally. A recent report released this week by U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed the number of apprehensions of what the Border Patrol calls Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) during the month of December rose for the sixth month in a row – up 109 percent in the first three months of this year compared to last.

“They’re mobilizing because they don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but know today they can cross,” Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told Fox News while acting in his capacity in the National Border Patrol Council.

One of the big draws for some of these families who risk their lives to come here from Central America, is the knowledge that if they get here, they will likely not be sent home, Fox News’ William La Jeunesse reported. In sanctuary cities, even if they commit a crime, officials will ignore federal immigration detainers that would remove them from the country, and simply set them free.

One of these mayors, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti went even further – creating the L.A. Justice Fund to provide millions of dollars in legal assistance to immigrants facing deportation. “The reason it was important for us to act is we will have a change in government next month,” he told La Jeunesse. “We expect there could be actions right away.”

He is likely to be correct.

“These mayors, sheriffs, and state leaders are thumbing their noses at federal immigration law,” Representative Lou Barletta (R-PA) told Breitbart Texas on Thursday. “The only way to stop them is to hit them in their pocketbooks.”

He introduced a bill earlier this month to do exactly that. 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. But this law only effects law enforcement grants.

“The president can cut off their money at noon on January 20, 2017 if they do not change their sanctuary policy and hand over criminal illegal aliens in their custody to be deported,” Culberson told Fox News.

Barletta’s bill, the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, 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.

Barletta concluded. “To me, there’s no gray area here–Right is right, wrong is wrong, and illegal is illegal.”

More cities have been rushing to get on the sanctuary city bandwagon since President Trump was elected in November. Many appear to feel emboldened by the actions of other cities that were not met with repercussions.

“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.”

Other bills have also been introduced to attack sanctuary and force them into compliance with existing immigration law.

Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced the Federal Immigration Law Compliance Act of 2016 (FILCA) in December with co-sponsors “from California to New York, to Florida, the representative’s website states, Breitbart Texas reported earlier in January. The bill would require any entity, including institutions of higher learning, to comply with all lawful requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests. The bill requires the withholding of all federal funding to any entity that refuses to comply with federal immigration enforcement requests.

“Congress has the responsibility to protect the rule of law in our country and provide for the safety of our citizens. We need to focus on protecting American citizens and those who are in this country legally, instead of providing shelter for those who have violated our immigration law and entered this country illegally. If any entity refuses to comply with federal immigration law, they should be denied federal money until they come into compliance,” Congressman Harris said in a written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.

Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) also introduced a bill to deal with the growing sanctuary campuses promising to shut out immigration officials. The No Funding for Sanctuary Campuses Act was introduced in late December to define “sanctuary campus” and create financial penalties for any “institutions of higher education that violates immigration laws.” The bill, H.R. 6530, was co-sponsored by Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Lou Barletta (R-PA).

“If a school wants federal money, an open declaration that it’s a sanctuary should disqualify it for federal support,” Hunter told the Washington Examiner in an interview. “It’s free to do that, of course, but there should be a consequence in the form of withheld federal funding — it’s that simple.”

Hunter’s and Harris’ bills were introduced in the closing days of the last session of Congress. It is likely they will be reintroduced in this session.

Border security was a major campaign plank of the new President’s campaign. During his inaugural address on Friday, President Trump said, “We will bring back our borders.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.