Barletta Applauds Justice Department Move to Cut Off Certain Federal Grants to Sanctuary Cities
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today applauded the Department of Justice’s announcement that it will deny certain federal grant funding to sanctuary cities. The policy will require jurisdictions to certify compliance with federal immigration laws in order to be eligible for Department of Justice grants. Barletta is the author of legislation, the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which goes even further by stopping all federal funds from flowing to states or localities which resist or ban enforcement of federal immigration laws, or flatly refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.
“One of the federal government’s main responsibilities is to protect its citizens, and sanctuary cities run completely counter to that responsibility,” Barletta said. “Too many mayors and local governments think that they are above federal law and place their own ideology ahead of the safety of their residents. I commend the administration for taking this important step, and sending a clear message to our local elected officials that there will be consequences for thumbing their noses at federal law.”
Barletta’s Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act prohibits any federal funding for a minimum period of one year to any state or local government which has a policy or law that prevents them from assisting immigration authorities in enforcing federal immigration law. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) lists about 300 such localities in the United States. Barletta’s bill directs the attorney general to compile an annual list of such cities and issue a report on any particular state or locality upon request from a member of Congress. A state or local government would only regain federal funding eligibility after the attorney general certifies that its laws and policies are in compliance with federal immigration statutes. This is the third time he has introduced the legislation.
Barletta introduced the bill as his first piece of legislation as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton. In 2006, a 29-year-old local father of three, Derek Kichline, was murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released by law enforcement a number of times, including by the sanctuary city of New York. Additionally, Barletta was spurred to reintroduce the bill in 2015 following the San Francisco murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle, whose accused killer was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times previously.