Nadler: GOP’s Sanctuary City Bill Demonizes Immigrants While Destroying Trust Between Law Enforcement and Local Communities

Jun 29, 2017 Issues: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following floor statement in opposition to H.R. 3003, the so-called “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which would withhold needed law enforcement funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” that choose not to assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.

“This legislation would withhold needed law enforcement funding from cities that choose not to assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws," said Congressman Nadler. "Funding to hire new police officers, grants to combat the opioid crisis, and money to reduce the rape kit backlog could all be taken away under this bill.  Not only does this raise serious constitutional concerns, it is simply bad policy that will lead to more crime, not less.”

Below is a copy of Congressman Nadler’s full floor statement, as prepared:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 3003.  This legislation would withhold needed law enforcement funding from cities that choose not to assist federal authorities in enforcing immigration laws.  Besides being constitutionally suspect, this bill is also highly counter-productive.

“Recognizing that good policing depends on building trust with their residents, many cities forbid their law enforcement officers from questioning victims of crime, or witnesses to a crime, about their immigration status, and they do not share immigration information with federal authorities.

“They believe that their communities are at greater risk when a victim of domestic violence is afraid to ask the police for protection from her abuser, for fear of deportation.  Or when witnesses to a murder refuse to assist law enforcement in tracking down the perpetrator, because they are afraid their immigration status will be discovered.

“These cities have concluded that taking on themselves the federal responsibility to enforce immigration laws would destroy trust between immigrants and local law enforcement, which would make everyone less safe.  But, perversely, this bill would punish these cities by denying them the funds that they need to protect public safety.

“Funding to hire new police officers, grants to combat the opioid crisis, and money to reduce the rape kit backlog could all be taken away under this bill.  Not only does this raise serious constitutional concerns, it is simply bad policy that will lead to more crime, not less.

“As if this were not bad enough, the bill would also authorize mandatory indefinite detention of certain categories of immigrants, without sufficient due process, even if they present no danger to their communities.  Indefinite detention is repugnant to our values of fairness and individual liberty, but this bill perpetuates the ugly myth that immigrants are more dangerous than native-born Americans, and it erodes the fundamental protections that we guarantee to all who are present in this country.

“Instead of taking positive steps to improve communication between federal, state, and local authorities, this bill demonizes immigrants, punishes communities that seek to build trust between immigrants and law enforcement, and authorizes indefinite detention of certain immigrants—all while making us less safe.

“For each of these reasons, this bill should be defeated, and I urge my colleagues to vote no.  I yield back the balance of my time.”

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