Mar 12 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) led the introduction of two bills to stop sanctuary cities and keep our communities safe from the failed policies of liberal politicians that have allowed violent criminal illegal immigrants to continue committing crimes. 

At the federal level, President Biden has implemented a policy of mass releasing illegal immigrants at our southern border, leading to almost 8.8 million encounters with illegal immigrants during his Administration. In addition, there have been over 1.85 million illegal immigrant “gotaways” during the past three fiscal years who made it across the border without being caught.

The first bill, the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Actwould fight sanctuary policies and provide justice for the victims and their families who are harmed when sanctuary jurisdictions put public safety in danger. Specifically, this legislation establishes a private right of action for any individual, spouse, parent or child who is a victim of murder, rape or any felony (as defined by the State), to bring an action against a State or political subdivision of a State if the entity declined to honor a lawful immigration detainer request for an alien by the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, this legislation would require a State or political subdivision of a State to waive immunity as a condition of receiving certain federal grants.

The second bill, the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act, would clarify 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 the Department through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology, and litigation-related costs.

“For too long, we have watched local jurisdictions in North Carolina and across the country ignore the lawful notification and detainer requests made by ICE agents and instead release dangerous criminals back into their communities and put innocent lives at risk,” said Senator Tillis. “It is clear President Biden and liberal politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety. It is time for Congress to step in and put an end to this madness by holding sanctuary cities accountable and empowering ICE to gain custody of criminal illegal immigrants so they can’t cause more harm and violence.” 

Both pieces of legislation are co-sponsored by Senators Ted Budd (R-NC), Tim Scott (R-SC), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) are also co-sponsors of the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act.

“This is a matter of public safety and the rule of law. At a time when the Biden administration refuses to crack down on sanctuary cities, Congress has the responsibility to act. It’s long past time that cities who refuse to enforce our immigration laws face legal consequences. When laws are not enforced, completely preventable tragedies occur. That has to stop,” said Senator Budd. “Our bill will put lawless cities on notice and will incentivize them to enforce our laws and keep our streets safe. I’d like to thank Senator Tillis for again leading these efforts.”

“President Biden’s open border policies, combined with Democrat-run sanctuary cities, are putting Americans’ lives at risk,”said Senator Scott. “For too long, we’ve watched these cities provide a safe harbor for illegal immigrants who go on to commit violent crimes. These bills take long needed steps to empower law enforcement and hold both the people who commit these crimes, as well as the officials who enable them, accountable.” 

“Sanctuary states and cities that refuse to enforce the law make Americans less safe,” said Senator Ricketts. “Adding incentives for cooperation with ICE will get dangerous criminals off our streets. These two bills would bring needed accountability to those who facilitate illegal immigration and bring justice for the victims of sanctuary policies.” 

“We've seen what happens when President Biden refuses to secure the border and cities harbor criminals illegally. Neither work to keep our communities safe,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our efforts serve as a needed backstop for failed border policy.”

“So many Americans have been murdered or otherwise victimized by illegal aliens shielded from deportation by leftist-controlled sanctuary cities,” said Senator Marshall. “It’s long past time for these sanctuary cities to face the consequences and understand the reality of their actions. We can start by enabling victims and their families to sue the jurisdictions that paved the way for this unmitigated disaster, causing their families unmeasurable pain and suffering.” 

The introduction of these two bills comes following the brutal murder of Laken Riley while she was running on the UGA campus by Jose Ibarra, who had been arrested twice before but released before a detainer could be issued. Other additional incidents involving sanctuary city policies include:

Read text of the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act HERE

Read text of the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act HERE