GOP Senators Introduce Bill Holding Sanctuary Cities Accountable
By Jennifer Hickey | July 2019
A group of Republican senators introduced this week legislation which would allow victims of illegal alien crime to sue sanctuary jurisdictions for putting citizens in danger. The “Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act” is a response to the growing number of cities and localities which either have official sanctuary policies or that refuse to comply with federal detainer requests for illegal immigrants.
“We are a nation of laws. Whether you are a citizen, immigrant or even a local government, disregarding those laws should carry consequences,” stated Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis echoed those sentiments in a press release, “If politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety, they should also be willing to provide just compensation for the victims.”
Tillis has taken the lead generating support for the bill, in part as a response to the increasing number of counties in his state that are refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
While Republican state lawmakers are moving House Bill 370, which would require local law enforcement honor ICE detainers, through the state Assembly, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has stated his opposition and is likely to issue a veto if it clears all of the legislative hurdles.
“The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is commonsense legislation that will enhance public safety and hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for their refusal to cooperate with federal law enforcement,” added Tillis.
In brief, the legislation would create a private right of civil action for victims of illegal alien crime, thus allowing them to sue for compensatory damages against the sanctuary jurisdiction.
In addition, any jurisdiction that refuses to waive its immunity as is relates to sanctuary-related civil action could have certain Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and/or certain Economic Development Administration grants withheld.
The other co-sponsors are: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).