GOP senator’s bill aimed at pressuring ‘sanctuary cities’ to cooperate with ICE

A U.S. senator has introduced a bill seeking better cooperation between county sheriffs and federal immigration authorities – and penalties if that cooperation doesn’t happen.

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act. It calls for local law enforcement to comply with detainer requests made by federal agents – or risk facing lawsuits by crime victims and/or the loss of federal grant money.

FLORIDA'S DESANTIS SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL SANCTUARY CITIES BAN INTO LAW

“It’s disturbing to see sheriffs across North Carolina establish sanctuary jurisdictions, releasing dangerous individuals back into communities while refusing to notify federal immigration officials,” Tills said in a statement. “If politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety, they should also be willing to provide just compensation for the victims.”

“If politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety, they should also be willing to provide just compensation for the victims.”

— U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Co-sponsors of the bill include GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa; Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas, the Washington Examiner reported.

“Sanctuary cities and their policies are a dangerous affront to the rule of law, and only exasperate the crisis at our border,” Cruz said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in holding these jurisdictions accountable, and will continue working to enforce our federal immigration laws and ensure the safety and security of the American people.”

“Sanctuary cities and their policies are a dangerous affront to the rule of law, and only exasperate the crisis at our border.”

— U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Tillis said his bill is in response to several counties in North Carolina – and other counties in other states – refusing to cooperate with officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 14, 2019. (Associated Press)

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., attends a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 14, 2019. (Associated Press)

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Some instances of non-cooperation have resulted in suspects committing crimes after being freed from jail because a sanctuary community did not want to hold that suspect for federal authorities.

In North Carolina, one such suspect, arrested twice for domestic violence charges, was later freed and involved in a nine-hour standoff with law enforcement before he could be recaptured and deported, the News & Observer reported.

A state-level proposal in North Carolina has already passed the state House and Senate but Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has suggested he would veto it, seeing it as unconstitutional, the newspaper reported.