Oct 30 2019

Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Representatives Dan Bishop (R-NC-9), Ted Budd (R-NC-13) and Richard Hudson (R-NC-8) introduced the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act, legislation that will help stop sanctuary cities. 
The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), David Perdue (R-GA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Tom Cotton (R-AR).
The legislation would clarify the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) detainer authority, clearly establish the authority of states and localities to maintain custody in cases in which a detainer has been issued, and incentivize cooperation between law enforcement agencies and DHS through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology, and litigation-related costs.
The introduction comes as a follow-up to the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, legislation introduced by Senator Tillis and Representative Budd that holds sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities.
Specifically, the bill:
  • Gives explicit authority to the arresting Federal, State, tribal, or local law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant for a period not to exceed 48 hours to permit assumption of custody by the DHS, upon the issuance of a detainer.
  • Allows the federal government to enter into agreements with the arresting law enforcement agency to indemnify these agencies against wrongful detention claims by third parties which resulted from a detainer issued without reason to believe the individual is a removable illegal immigrant. Indemnification will not extend to claims relating to negligence or willful misconduct.
  • Makes jurisdictions ineligible for reimbursement of detention costs if they are certified by the DHS Secretary as being noncompliant with ICE.
  • Jurisdictions that are deemed incompliant by the DHS Secretary will not receive priority when being considered for funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and when benefitting from the 1033 and 1122 programs.
“North Carolinians are rightfully disturbed that a handful of local sheriffs are putting politics ahead of public safety by implementing reckless sanctuary policies that release dangerous criminals back into our communities and make it harder for federal law enforcement to do their jobs,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I am proud to introduce this legislation to eliminate the excuse sheriffs are using to justify why they ignore detainer requests made by DHS. By clarifying their authority and incentivizing cooperation, we can better enforce our nation’s immigration laws and keep North Carolinians safe from dangerous criminals.”
“Sanctuary cities and jurisdictions jeopardize the safety of our communities when they refuse to cooperate with federal authorities and lawful immigration detainer requests. We’ve already seen the heartbreak and tragedy that can come from failing to take immigration detainers seriously, so I’ve long advocated for legislation that puts a stop to such reckless policies. Sen. Tillis’ bill takes important steps to help local, state and federal law enforcement better protect our communities,” Senator Chuck Grassley said.
“Releasing dangerous criminals does not build “trust” with the immigrant community – it puts their lives in danger. While a few North Carolina sheriffs believe their actions to be compassionate, I doubt the victims of violent crime such as beatings, rape and murder feel the same way,” said Representative Dan Bishop. “This bill removes the fig leaf of legal excuses that rogue sheriffs have used to rationalize their brutal and inhumane policies and I am proud to work with my colleagues on this critical piece of legislation.”
“It is clear that sanctuary cities’ failure to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had a real cost on society, both economically and in terms of human lives. That’s why in July, my colleagues and I introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act which allows families and victims of sanctuary city policies to sue the city for failing to comply with detainer requests from ICE. Now my colleagues and I are introducing legislation that goes further and incentivizes local law enforcement to comply with federal detainer requests,” said Representative Ted Budd. “The Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act does just that. This bill, along with the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, lays out a clear incentive-based approach that takes all the excuses away from sanctuary cities and would make it an easy decision to cooperate with federal law enforcement. This is a common sense proposal that will protect our communities and help save American lives.”
“We are a nation of laws, and this legislation helps ensure those laws are enforced,” said Representative Richard Hudson. “It is a good step to crack down on sanctuary cities and protect our community from illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. I will continue to work with my colleagues and President Trump to secure our border.”
“We must send a clear message that those who enter our country illegally and commit crimes will face consequences for their actions,” said Senator John Cornyn. “This legislation will help ensure that federal, state, and local law enforcement can cooperate with one another to take these dangerous criminals off the streets and save the lives of Texans.”
“The failure of sanctuary jurisdictions to detain illegal aliens presents a clear and present danger to our society, as Iowans have seen firsthand with the tragic death of Sarah Root,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “This bill will halt sanctuary policies that put the public at risk while incentivizing cooperation between local, state, and federal authorities to ensure the safety and security of our communities.”
“Sanctuary cities continue to put politics ahead of the safety and security of the American people,” said Senator David Perdue. “By refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, sanctuary cities are recklessly endangering the lives of law-abiding citizens. This bill cracks down on cities that disregard our law and makes it clear that criminal illegal immigrants will never find a safe haven in America.”
“Sanctuary jurisdictions provide havens for illegal aliens and put the safety of our citizens at risk. Legislation to protect the public is especially important in light of reports that Nashville is terminating its contract to house ICE detainees. We need to incentivize local law enforcement to work with – not against – our federal agencies to secure our border,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn.
“Public safety should always take priority over politics,” said Senator Tom Cotton. “This bill will help keep dangerous criminals off our streets by encouraging better cooperation between local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security.”
A recent trend across the United States has been the unwillingness of localities to assist the federal government with its immigration enforcement responsibilities. Detainers are a valuable and effective law enforcement tool, however, several states and localities, including in North Carolina, have passed legislation or developed policies significantly limiting cooperation with detainers. This unwillingness to communicate and comply with lawful detainer requests puts public safety at risk and endangers entire communities. Much of this lack of cooperation has been fueled, in part, by recent federal court decisions calling into question the authority of state and local law enforcement agencies to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant who is the subject of an immigration detainer beyond the time he or she would otherwise have been released. Additionally, state and local law enforcement agencies have cited fiscal concerns in declining to cooperate with immigration detainers.
In North Carolina, sheriffs in a handful of counties have recently implemented sanctuary policies by refusing to honor detainer requests made by ICE. WBTV recently reported on data showing that nearly 500 illegal immigrants were released from N.C. jails despite a detainer request made by federal law enforcement. Charges included sex offenses, kidnapping, arson, and homicide.