Congressmen Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, joined Rep. Ted Budd, R-North Carolina, in introducing legislation he said is designed to protect victims of crimes committed by people who immigrated illegally into the United States.
“I’m sick of hearing stories about illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities committing horrific crimes against American citizens. It’s time we do something about it,” Byrne said. “Not only will our legislation provide justice for victims, but it will push communities to abandon their reckless sanctuary policies and help disincentivize illegal immigration. Whether it’s cracking down on sanctuary cities or providing additional resources to build the wall, now is the time for action to address the illegal immigration crisis.”
“I’ve been following sanctuary cities for some time now and the effects that they have on local communities,” Budd said. “I’ve found that sanctuary cities’ failure to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) is reckless and has had a real cost on society, both economically and in terms of human lives. It strikes me as common sense to introduce and pursue legislation that allows families and victims recourse against municipalities and policies that have caused them so much damage. Currently, they have none. I want to thank Rep. Bradly Byrne for introducing this bill with me in the House and Senator Thom Tillis for his leadership on this issue in the Senate.”
President Donald Trump has said that the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act will “give American victims the right to sue sanctuary cities and hold them accountable for the thousands of lives they have shattered.”
The bill creates a new legal right for any individual, spouse, or child who is a victim of a violent crime or felony caused by an illegal immigrant to sue the responsible sanctuary city or jurisdiction. It requires jurisdictions to waive immunity for these cases as a condition of receiving Community Development Block Grant funds and other grants.
The bill defines a “Sanctuary Jurisdiction” as “any state or political subdivision (including a county or city) that has a statute, ordinance, policy, or practice that restricts a government official or entity from receiving or maintaining information about the immigration status of an individual, including refusing to comply with lawful detainer requests made by D.H.S. or the notification of the release of an illegal immigrant.”
Republican Sens. Thom Tillis (North Carolina), Ted Cruz (Texas), Lindsay Graham (South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee) previously introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
A number of progressive aligned municipal governments have ordered their police forces not to cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) efforts to find and capture criminal illegal aliens.
The bill is designed to provide a civil remedy for individuals harmed by sanctuary jurisdiction policies, and for other purposes. Crime victims would be able to file lawsuits against sanctuary cities that refused to help I.C.E. find the criminal illegal alien who went on to victimize them.
Kate Steinle was killed by a career criminal who was illegally in the country in San Francisco in 2015. The city was a sanctuary city so even though they had recently arrested her killer on other charges they did not turn him over to I.C.E. When he got out, he stole a weapon from the vehicle of a law enforcement officer and then gunned down Steinle.
Byrne recently visited the United States-Mexico border to see the illegal immigration crisis firsthand.
Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama. Byrne is not seeking election to another term in the House, but he is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Doug Jones.
Byrne faces a crowded field for the Republican Senate nomination that includes: former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, State Representative Arnold Mooney, businessman Stanley Adair, former Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Secretary of State John Merrill.