Trump Highlights Senate Bill That Would Allow Victims to Sue Sanctuary Cities

Trump Highlights Senate Bill That Would Allow Victims to Sue Sanctuary Cities
New York City has several sanctuary policies that prohibit, with few caveats, local law enforcement from handing criminals over to immigration authorities unless they commit any of 170 crimes the city has listed. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)
Masooma Haq

During his State of the Union Address, President Trump highlighted Senator Thom Tillis’s (R-N.C.) 2019 legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to sue sanctuary cities and states, which generally refuse to comply with federal immigration policies.

The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is legislation that holds sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities that lead to jeopardizing public safety.

Unless Republicans can win back the House, it is highly unlikely to become law.

“Sen. Tom Tillis has introduced legislation to allow Americans like Jody to sue sanctuary cities and states when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly practices,” Trump said, referencing a guest at the President’s speech, whose brother was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in California.

Jody is the brother of Rocky Jones, who was murdered in a Visalia convenient store parking lot in December 2018.  Authorities said, the shooter, Gustavo Garcia, was an unauthorized immigrant who had been arrested on a drug charge and held at the Tulare County Jail for 10 hours the day before the murder.

After being released, Garcia went on a “reign of terror” through Tulare County, committing dozens of crimes in 24 hours, robbing a gas station, wounding several people, leading police on a high-speed chase, and killing 51-year old Rocky.

Joining Tillis as original co-sponsors are Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The bill “creates a private right of civil action for the victims of sanctuary jurisdictions, allowing them to bring an action for compensatory damages against the sanctuary jurisdiction as a result of a violent crime committed by an illegal immigrant.

Any sanctuary city or jurisdiction that refuses to waive its immunity as it relates to sanctuary-related civil action would be subject to the withholding of certain Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.”

The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is a direct response to a growing number of sanctuary jurisdictions across the country that either have official sanctuary policies or are refusing to comply with detainer requests and release notifications from the Department of Homeland Security.

As of 2019, nine states were declared sanctuaries, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.

Hundreds of cities and towns within those states have also declared themselves as sanctuaries that protect illegal aliens from ICE.

Among the significant sanctuary cities are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Newark, New Jersey.

“These cities, counties, and states have laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from ICE,” according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

They accomplish that CIS explained: “either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance, denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens, or otherwise impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers.”

Such detainers are “the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal aliens for deportation. It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien and includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations, and potential threat to public safety or security,” CIS said.

Mark Tapscott Contributed to this report
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.
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