WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley issued the following statement after a procedural vote to begin debate on the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act was blocked.  The bill would allow local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities so that criminals deemed a priority for deportation are not released back into American communities.  Importantly, law enforcement groups and the families of victims had announced their support for the bill.

“Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from families of individuals who were killed by people illegally in the country – many of whom had already racked up multiple criminal convictions and deportations.  Today, we had an opportunity to begin debating a proposal to fix this problem.  Unfortunately, opponents turned the issue into a partisan attack, in favor of the status quo, in which many communities forbid law enforcement from working with federal officials to keep criminal illegal immigrants out of our communities.  Filibustering a debate on policy that may have prevented the deaths of so many individuals is no way to honor their legacies.”

The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act attempts to curb sanctuary policies by:
  • Reallocating certain federal funds in sanctuary jurisdictions to those who cooperate with federal immigration authorities;
  • Confirming local law enforcement’s legal authority to cooperate with federal immigration officials while preserving civil liberties protections; and
  • Establishing Kate’s Law, a new mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for illegal immigrants who are convicted of re-entering the U.S. after being convicted of an aggravated felony or being convicted of having illegally re-entered the U.S. twice prior.

The legislation is supported by the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Sheriffs Association, and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, International Union of Police Associations, several immigration enforcement organizations and a number of families who lost loved ones to individuals illegally in the country.