Bob Goodlatte: Sanctuary city policies endanger communities

goodlattefourin“No.” Unfortunately, that is what many sanctuary cities have told the federal government regarding the enforcement of our immigration laws. These sanctuary cities needlessly endanger American lives by adopting public policies refusing to cooperate with the federal government to enforce immigration laws. And the federal government does nothing to stop them.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana testified before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year that there are over 200 jurisdictions that don’t honor ICE detainers. Detainers are notices that ask local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies not to release removable aliens held at their facilities in order to give ICE an opportunity to take them into its custody and put them in deportation proceedings.

Making matters worse, the Obama Administration authorizes sanctuary city policies and compounds this public safety issue with its own foolish policies. As part of the unilateral actions taken by President Obama last November with a wave of his “pen and phone,” he dismantled a successful tool used in local jails to identify criminal aliens for removal known as Secure Communities. It was replaced with the “Priority Enforcement Program,” a new, untested program that allows many criminal aliens to remain in the United States. Unfortunately, under this program aliens who enter the U.S. illegally or re-enter after being removed are not an enforcement priority. Cases like the recent preventable tragedy in San Francisco make it clear why our immigration laws must be enforced.

Bob Goodlatte represents Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress.

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