CRAMER: Criminals Deserve No ‘Sanctuary’ in America
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported two bills passed by the House of Representatives this afternoon to strengthen public safety by combating dangerous sanctuary city policies, which allow criminals to go free, and by increasing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003) provides additional tools to fight sanctuary policies and punish rogue cities. It also clarifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer authority, the tool used by federal immigration enforcement officers to pick up criminal aliens from local jails, by establishing statutory probable cause standards to issue detainers for the first time. It also withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that violate federal law by prohibiting their officers from communicating with ICE.
H.R. 3003 also contains Sarah and Grant’s Law, which ensures unlawful immigrants convicted or arrested for dangerous crimes are detained during their removal proceedings. This provision is named after Sarah Root and Grant Ronnebeck. In January 2016, an unlawful immigrant driving drunk struck Sarah Root’s car and subsequently killed her. She had just graduated from college. To make matters worse, the person responsible was released from custody and is still on the loose. And in January 2015, Grant Ronnebeck was murdered at a convenience store by a convicted felon who was free on bond while facing deportation.
“We are a nation of laws,” said Cramer. “And these tragic stories are unfortunate examples of what happens when rogue cities decide to take the law into their own hands. My heart breaks for the families who have to go through this turmoil due to sanctuary cities blatantly ignoring the rule of law by letting illegal aliens with criminal records go free. This bill will ensure our immigration laws are enforced and sanctuary cities are put on notice for their blatant disregard of the law.”
The House also passed Kate’s Law (H.R. 3004), a bill enhancing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States so criminals aren’t free to roam our streets and harm innocent lives. The bill is named after Kate Steinle, who was murdered in San Francisco by an unlawful immigrant who had previously been deported five times and was convicted of multiple felonies. In another tragic example, Nicodemo Coria-Gonzales—a criminal immigrant previously deported at least five times—is reportedly responsible for nearly a dozen sexual assaults. He allegedly kidnapped a woman and attempted to light her on fire using gasoline, and kidnapped and raped a 68-year old woman.
“It’s time for these cities to realize that real lives are on the line here, we can’t pretend these illegal acts aren’t happening when we have the power to do something about it,” said Cramer. We must do more to keep these criminals off the streets and deter others from breaking our immigration laws. “We’ve already failed Kate, Sarah, and Grant, - let’s not fail anyone else.”
A recent Harvard-Harris poll reports that 80 percent of Americans support ending the practice of sanctuary cities that refuse to turn over criminal illegal aliens to Federal authorities. Since President Trump was elected, reports suggest efforts to make our communities safer are beginning to take hold. According to the Trump Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seen nearly 40 percent more Enforcement and Removal Operations compared to the same time last year. Nearly 75 percent of these illegal aliens have been convicted criminals with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges. And, in fiscal year 2017, ICE has removed 2,798 criminal gang members, compared to 2,057 criminal gang members in all of fiscal year 2016.