The “sanctuary city” status of our nation’s capital may soon be revoked if a new bill introduced in the House becomes law.
Rep. Louie Gohmert’s new “Safer D.C. Act” would force officials in the city to report anyone arrested by police who is in the country illegally to the Department of Homeland Security. Any city employee who fails to report the illegal aliens would be fined up to $10,000.
The bill requires the District of Columbia to provide the DHS information necessary to determine the immigration status of the person arrested. If the person is in the country illegally, DHS would be required to issue a detainer. Once detained, D.C. law enforcement would then be required to hold an immigrant in custody for up to 48 hours.
Gohmert called the limitations of D.C.’s status as a “sanctuary city” a threat to the “innocent, and precious lives” of the city’s residents. (RELATED: Study: Obama Policies Will Allow 87 Percent Of Illegals To Stay In America)
“Protecting Americans from the violence of criminals illegally in the country should be a top priority,” Gohmert said in a statement. “This administration has been so intentionally and recklessly dysfunctional in protecting our country that in fiscal year 2014, 36.7% of all federal sentences were for crimes by people who are not even legally in the country.”
Earlier last week, the House voted to strip “sanctuary cities” of federal funds because Republicans said the policies of these cities led to the death Kate Steinle, 32, at the hands of an illegal immigrant who had multiple felonies and deportations. (RELATED: A Month Before Kate Steinle’s Killer Was Released, San Francisco Sheriff ORDERED Deputies Not To Communicate With ICE)
Currently, the District of Columbia and some other states have laws prohibiting law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration agents, which Gohmert pointed out when introducing the new bill.
“This type of limitation simply should not be the case. It is time to take action and start protecting cities and citizens from crimes which may be prevented with proper checking, communication and accountability between departments,” he said.
Democrats, though, vowed to fight Gohmert’s efforts to force cooperation between the feds and local police when handling illegal immigrants.
D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, along with several other Democrats sent a letter to fellow members urging them to vote against the Gohmert bill and said it was nothing more than “another attack on our immigrant community.”
“The District, like cities across the country, has decided that the interests of public safety and justice are best protected by limiting the city’s cooperation with federal immigration officials, yet Representative Gohmert thinks he knows how better to protect our city than officials elected to bear that responsibility,” Norton said on the House floor.
Norton went on to say the law would deter illegal immigrants from seeking assistance from police, making them easy prey for criminals.
According to Norton, a murder like the one in San Francisco could never happen in D.C. because the city already detains illegal immigrants who have been arrested for dangerous crimes.
“We most certainly will not allow a Member of Congress to showcase his personal ideology by reaching undemocratically into the business of a single district whose residents have no recourse in response to his autocratic action against them,” Norton said.