Let’s just start with a statement of fact: sanctuary city policies threaten the safety of American citizens. In June, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a list of criminal illegal aliens that were allowed back into their sanctuary communities by local officials. One such criminal is Rosalio Ramos-Romas, a Hondurian citizen who was deported four times before authorities arrested him in Washington State in October 2017.
Once notified of Rosalio’s arrest, ICE issued a written detainer request, asking the local authorities to imprison him for an additional 48 hours so they could decide whether or not to begin deportation proceedings. Instead, local authorities ignored the detainer request and released Rosalio back into the community. In January 2018, he murdered his cousin and hid the body in a dumpster.
In another instance in 2015, Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant from Mexico shot and killed 32 year old Kate Steinle while she was walking with her father and her friend on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Prior to the shooting, Garcia Zarate had been deported five times and was supposed to be deported for a sixth time. He had been transferred to San Francisco’s jail to serve a sentence for selling marijuana, but local authorities released him a few days later despite a detainer request from federal law enforcement.
Situations like these are more common than they should be in our country, as many local officials protect undocumented immigrants and ignore federal immigration laws up to the point of leaving dangerous individuals in their communities. As you can see from these horrific examples, refusing to honor detainer requests and frustrating federal law enforcement has dire consequences. Not only does it make our nation less safe, it leaves no room for the victims of these offenders to obtain justice. This must be addressed.
That is why I introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act. This legislation would allow anyone who is a victim of murder, rape, or any felony to file a lawsuit and bring civil action against the state or sanctuary city if that city failed to honor a lawful immigration detainer request from the Department of Homeland Security. Any individual who is injured or harmed by an illegal immigrant who benefited from sanctuary city policies will be able to sue the sanctuary city or state.
My bill also requires sanctuary cities to waive a criminal’s immunity as a condition of receiving certain federal grants. If the jurisdiction doesn’t agree to waive immunity, it will not be eligible for grants for public works, grant planning and administrative expenses, supplementary grants and grants for training, research, and technical assistance.
It’s time for Congress to force sanctuary cities to comply with federal law enforcement and to stop them from letting dangerous criminals infiltrate our streets. It is finally time to give victims of sanctuary city policies a legal pathway to justice.
I will continue to support policies that crack down on sanctuary cities across the United States.
Rep. Ted Budd is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Guilford County in Congress.