Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 228-195 a bill to strengthen public safety by combating dangerous sanctuary policies that permit criminals to go free. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representatives Steve King (R-Iowa) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), authors of the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003), applauded House passage of the bill in the statements below.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Sanctuary cities needlessly jeopardize innocent lives. By refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities, sanctuary policies allow unlawful and criminal immigrants to be released onto the streets. We are all too familiar with how dangerous sanctuary policies have devastated families across the United States and we must strengthen the law to combat such recklessness.
“The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act provides much needed tools to enhance public safety. It strengthens federal immigration enforcement officers’ ability to pick up criminal aliens from local jails. The bill also contains Sarah and Grant’s Law to ensure unlawful immigrants convicted of drunk driving, or arrested for other dangerous crimes, are detained during their removal proceedings. We have much work to do to improve our nation’s immigration laws, such as passing the Davis-Oliver Act and others, but this bill is a good first step. I applaud the House for approving this bill and call on the Senate to pass it immediately.”
Representative King: “I thank Chairman Goodlatte for his support and leadership combating illegal immigration. The bill we passed today contains a key provision I introduced: Sarah’s Law, named in honor of the memory of Iowa’s Sarah Root, a 21 year old killed by a 19 year old illegal alien who had previous run-ins with law enforcement. Sarah’s Law requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take custody of illegal aliens charged in the United States with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person. Sarah’s Law will work effectively with the other important reforms contained in this bill to protect all Americans from crimes committed by those who are not here legally in the first place.”
Representative Biggs: “Everybody in America agrees that someone who is criminally violent should not be released on the streets of America so they can continue causing mayhem. Yet for years, the policies of the Obama Administration have allowed exactly the opposite to happen, leading to countless innocent Americans being put in harm’s way. One of them, my constituent, Grant Ronnebeck, was murdered in 2015 by an illegal immigrant who had a long criminal record and had been released from federal custody while awaiting deportation proceedings. We cannot allow tragedies like this one to continue to happen, and I am pleased that Congress has taken action to bring these lax policies to an end. I am grateful for the leadership and commitment of Chairman Bob Goodlatte to ensure that these important bills received consideration and passed the House of Representatives. I hope these bills receive a swift vote in the Senate and are signed into law by President Trump soon.”
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act strengthens the law to combat dangerous sanctuary policies that shield unlawful and criminal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement. Specifically, the bill clarifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer authority—the tool used by federal immigration enforcement officers to pick up criminal aliens from local jails—by establishing statutory probable cause standards to issue detainers for the first time. It also withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that violate federal law by prohibiting their officers from communicating with ICE. The bill protects jurisdictions that comply with detainers from being sued, while allowing victims of crime to sue jurisdictions that refuse to comply and subsequently release criminal aliens onto the streets.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act also contains Sarah and Grant’s Law, which ensures unlawful immigrants convicted of drunk driving or arrested for other dangerous crimes are detained during their removal proceedings. This provision is named after Sarah Root and Grant Ronnebeck. In January 2016, an unlawful immigrant driving drunk struck Sarah Root’s car and subsequently killed her. She had just graduated from college. To make matters worse, the person responsible was released from custody and is still on the loose. And in January 2015, Grant Ronnebeck was murdered at a convenience store by a convicted felon who was free on bond while facing deportation.
To learn more about the House Judiciary Committee’s efforts to improve our nation’s immigration laws, click here.