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Palmer and Byrne Vote Against Sanctuary Cities

July 24, 2015
In The News

Thursday, July 23 U.S. Representatives Gary Palmer (R from Hoover) and Bradley Byrne (R from Montrose) both voted in favor of H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, which passed the House today.  This bill cuts off specific federal law enforcement grants for “sanctuary” cities.  The legislation defines sanctuary cities as those cities which refuse to cooperate with the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) or other government agencies charged with immigration, or have laws that bar law enforcement from inquiring about a suspect’s immigration status.  

Congressman Palmer said in a statement, “If a city chooses not to cooperate with the federal government in enforcing immigration law, then they should not receive the benefit of federal law enforcement funding.  The rule of law must always remain a high priority for every elected official if we are to maintain our constitutional order.”

Congressman Byrne said in his own statement, “Today the House passed a bill to cut off grant funding for "sanctuary cities" who refuse to enforce our nation's immigration laws. This vote comes after Kate Steinle was killed earlier this year by an illegal immigrant in one of these "sanctuary cities." It doesn't seem like these cities are "sanctuaries" for law abiding citizens, but rather that they are "sanctuaries" for criminals.”

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 200 cities nationwide could be classified as sanctuary cities.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) estimate that January 1 to August 31, 2014, more than 8,100 deportable aliens were released after being arrested by sanctuary jurisdictions.  Of the 8,100 aliens released by sanctuary jurisdictions, approximately 1,900 were later arrested yet again.  In many instances, these illegal immigrants were subsequently arrested more than once. 

This has been a problem for years, but the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco on July 1st allegedly by criminal illegal alien Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez has focused attention on this issue.  In March Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities asked the San Francisco Police Department to hold Lopez Sanchez for them to pick up; but they instead turned him loose, despite his multiple felony convictions, due to San Francisco’s sanctuary city laws.  He later (allegedly) stole a gun from a member of law enforcement and (allegedly) gunned down Miss Steinle who was just taking a stroll with her father.

Rep. Byrne said, “I am the father of two grown women, but I never quit being their daddy. And I cannot imagine what Mr. Steinle went through that day when he was with his daughter, and she was shot and died in his arms.”

Congressman Byrne said, “He testified yesterday before the Senate. Very emotional, powerful testimony, and I wonder what he would say if he were in this room today with us, because I think what he was telling the Senate yesterday is that he wanted us to do something.  There’s been a failure here, and in part, it’s our failure, and I don’t think it’s too much for any of us to understand the human component of that father. And this is not an isolated incident, unfortunately. If it’s not an isolated incident, it’s going to happen again until somebody stops it.  And it seems to me it’s the responsibility of those of us in public office to stop it, and here is an opportunity to stop it, and I would not be doing my duty as a Congressman – I also would not be doing my duty as a dad – if I didn’t stop it.”

H.R. 3009, the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act passed the House 241 to 179.

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