Barletta’s 1st Bill of 115th Congress: Defund Sanctuary Cities
Kate Steinle, above, was murdered in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, in July of 2015 by an illegal immigrant who is a seven-time felon who had previously been deported five times.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today introduced the Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Act, H.R. 83, which will stop 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. The bill is the first piece of legislation introduced by Barletta in the 115th Congress and represents the third time the congressman has introduced the measure. In 2011, the bill was the first piece of legislation he ever introduced as a member of Congress. He introduced it a second time in the 114th Congress in 2015.
“One of the principal duties of the government is to protect its citizens, and the idea of sanctuary cities runs 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. This bill will stop that practice by saying to these sanctuary cities, ‘If you refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, you will lose your federal funding.’”
Barletta introduced the bill as a freshman congressman in 2011 because of his personal experience with the danger of sanctuary cities while he was mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. 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.
“Twice before I have introduced this bill, and twice before there was not the political will to pass it,” Barletta said. “With the Trump Administration taking office later this month, and with enforcing immigration law becoming a priority, I am hopeful we will meet with success this time around. It’s time we stopped seeing headlines about the victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants.”
The 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.