Today the United States Senate is scheduled to vote on the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” Bill, S.2146. The bill that was introduced by Senator David Vitter R-La, would reprimand U.S. cities and jurisdictions for not complying with federal law enforcement in regards to a detained undocumented immigrant. The bill would implement a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in jail, and no more than 20 years, for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the U.S. who were previously convicted of a crime. For any U.S. jurisdiction that would not comply with federal agents in regards to a specified detained immigrant, the bill would limit or cease federal grant to those jurisdictions, often referred to as “sanctuary cities.”
The Obama administration released a statement in opposition to Vitter’s bill. According to the statement from the executive office of the president via the Office of Management and Budget, the Obama administration “strongly opposes” S. 2146. The administration claimed Vitter’s bill fails to offer comprehensive immigration reform, reiterating and agreeing that the current immigration system is “broken.” The statement noted the bill “undermines” the administration’s efforts to deport “the most dangerous convicted criminals.” The statement also noted “the bill would also jeopardize the ability of State and local governments to receive Federal funding that is critical to their efforts to ensure public safety and to tackle serious problems facing their communities. For some jurisdictions, it would deny funding for cities to implement a wide range of community development and housing activities, including public safety enhancements and neighborhood-based community policing efforts and investments to increase access to affordable housing, and eliminate blight and support neighborhood planning.”
Vitter’s bill, introduced on Oct. 10th, has received support from several Republican presidential candidates such as Senator Marco Rubio of Texas and Senator Ted Cruz of Florida. On the flip side are many Immigrant-rights groups, such as the National Immigration Law Center who believe the bill would “devastate community safety”.
We at North County Immigration are also firmly against the passing of this bill as we don’t see it as an effective “deterrent” for these so-called Sanctuary Cities to change their policies toward undocumented immigrants, but rather just a punitive action that would be detrimental to anyone and everyone who live in these areas. We feel that a purely punitive approach such as Stripping away Federal funding would not help create a more efficient immigration system, nor would it actually improve the safety of any citizens living in these cities.