Donald Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration is one of the primary reasons he is now President Trump – and House Republicans are backing him up. Last week, Fox News published an op-ed in which Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions implored Congress to pass the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law to make America safer. Apparently, Congress listened. Both bills passed the House last Thursday, June 28. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) sponsored the bills on June 22 – a mere week before the House passed them both – each bill features the names of victims recently killed by illegal aliens.
H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, contains a section named for Sarah Root, killed by an illegal charged with drunk driving, and Grant Ronnebeck, who was murdered by an illegal alien and self-proclaimed Sinaloa Cartel member out on bail pending his removal. This bill would make good on President Trump’s promise to pull all federal funding earmarked for law enforcement in so-called sanctuary cities. This Act amends Section 642 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1373).
The changes to the wording of Section 2 subsections (a) and (b) are subtle, but the effects are significant. Rather than limiting the law to forbidding any restrictions on requests made by the Immigration and Nationalization Service, it now applies to all federal law enforcement agencies. The Act also replaces “Immigration and Nationalization Service” in subsection (c) with “Department of Homeland Security.” The most significant change in this section, however, is the addition of subsection (d) – Compliance. The Secretary of Homeland Security would determine which states or political subdivisions of states are not in compliance with subsection (a) or (b). The Secretary would then report to Congress by March 1 of each year.
The Secretary would have the authority to deny the transfer of custody of any deportable alien in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody to any state, or political subdivision found not in compliance – even in spite of any writs or warrants that may exist against the alien. Additionally, the Secretary would not be allowed to transfer any such alien to any non-compliant body if the alien had a final order of removal. In other words, rather than being transferred to other agencies to serve warrants or writs, any foreigner marked for deportation would remain in DHS custody until the removal occurred. Finally, any non-compliant states or subdivisions would be ineligible for federal law enforcement funding.
Section 3 clarifies the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. In general, the Secretary may issue a detainer for any individual arrested by any law enforcement for the violation of any criminal or motor vehicle law if there is probable cause that the detainee is a deportable alien. Probable cause includes the following:
(A) the individual who is the subject of the detainer matches, pursuant to biometric confirmation or other Federal database records, the identity of an alien who the Secretary has reasonable grounds to believe to be inadmissible or deportable;
(B) the individual who is the subject of the detainer is the subject of ongoing removal proceedings, including matters where a charging document has already been served;
(C) the individual who is the subject of the detainer has previously been ordered removed from the United States and such an order is administratively final;
(D) the individual who is the subject of the detainer has made voluntary statements or provided reliable evidence that indicate that they are an inadmissible or deportable alien; or
(E) the Secretary otherwise has reasonable grounds to believe that the individual who is the subject of the detainer is an inadmissible or deportable alien.
If any state, political subdivision or individual wants to sue over any action taken pursuant to this bill, the U.S. Federal Government must be the party named as defendant, except when the arresting agency is guilty of “bad faith.” Mistreated individuals would sue the agency that mistreated them.
Additionally, this section grants a “cause of action” to victims of felonies. If an illegal alien previously sentenced to at least one year of imprisonment was able to commit a new crime due to their release in spite of a federal detainer, the victim could sue the agency responsible for the alien’s release.
Section 4 is Sarah and Grant’s Law. In addition to a number of administrative changes, including one that removes most occurrences of the Attorney General and adds in the Secretary of Homeland Security, this section also denies bail to anyone held under subsection (c) of 8 USC 1226: Apprehension and detention of aliens.
This bill would go into effect as soon as President Trump signs it into law – as he almost certainly will should it pass the Senate. Many who oppose this bill might feel that forcing any state to comply with this federal law reaches beyond the powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution. Perhaps it would – but this act does not necessarily force compliance. The only real penalty for non-compliance is the loss of federal funding to local and state law enforcement – money that the Constitution does not require the federal government to give. Those who back sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants may try to claim the moral high ground for ignoring blatant criminal activity by defending individual rights, but the revocation of federal funds is a hard hit to take. Should this bill be enacted as law, we’ll see very soon just how devoted the leaders of the nation’s sanctuaries are to their illegal friends.