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House to Vote on Bills that Endanger Public Safety and Supercharge Trump’s Mass Deportation Force

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Goodlatte Legislation Set for House Action This Week

This week, the House of Representatives will vote on two separate pieces of anti-immigrant legislation sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chair and longtime immigration opponent Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) – the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” and “Kate’s Law.”

These bills would supercharge President Trump’s costly and cruel approach to immigration by scapegoating immigrants; undercutting local law enforcement and prosecution efforts; giving even more authority to immigration enforcement agencies ICE and DHS; and ramping up deportations beyond the currently outrageous levels.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

The immigration enforcement approach championed by the Trump Administration and embodied by Bob Goodlatte’s bills would harm, rather than help, public safety. Indiscriminate deportations and targeting deeply-rooted families is not only contrary to who we are as a nation, but contrary to good law enforcement practices. Despite the costs and consequences already on display throughout the country, House Republicans are poised to put the Trump Administration’s existing cruel approach into overdrive.

Below are primers on the two Goodlatte bills. The House is likely to take votes on Goodlatte’s bills later this week.

  • The “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (HR 3003) would undermine local law enforcement, interfere with local policing, and endanger local community prosecutions. Among its provisions, this bill seeks to strip millions of dollars in federal law enforcement funding and public safety grants from more than 600 jurisdictions and states that prioritize community policing and ensure that their local law enforcement agencies are not de facto immigration enforcement agents. As the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) describes, “Rather than empowering localities, the extremely broad wording of H.R. 3003 would strip localities of the ability to enact common-sense crime prevention policies that ensure victims of crime will seek protection and report crimes. The bill would also undermine public safety by prohibiting DHS from honoring criminal warrants of communities deemed ‘sanctuary cities’ if the individual being sought by local law enforcement has a final order of removal … In an effort to force localities to engage in civil immigration enforcement efforts, including those against nonviolent undocumented immigrants, the bill would make it far more difficult for many localities, including large cities, to arrest and prosecute potentially dangerous criminals.” Additionally, by forcing jurisdictions to honor ICE detainers, this bill could run afoul of both the Fourth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution (see more on the constitutional angle via AILA, here). Finally, HR 3003 would expand the Trump Administration’s powers to indefinitely detain immigrants without basic, constitutional due process protections.

As International Association of Chiefs of Police has said​: “Penalizing communities by withholding assistance funding to law enforcement agencies and other critical programs is counterproductive to our shared mission of reducing violent crime and keeping our communities safe.” And Jonathan Thompson, CEO of the National Sheriffs’ Association, noted: “The vast majority of sheriffs … want to cooperate with ICE, want to cooperate with DHS. But they want to do so in a way that is constitutional and protects the rights of everyone involved, including victims. Especially victims.”

According to the Fraternal Order of Police:

[W]ithholding needed assistance to law enforcement agencies – which have no policymaking role – also hurts public safety efforts … It is unjust to penalize law enforcement and the citizens they serve because Congress disagrees with their enforcement priorities with respect to our nation’s immigration laws … On behalf of more than 330,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I want to urge the House to reject H.R. 3003’s punitive approach and work with law enforcement to find a better way to improve public safety in our communities.

  • “Kate’s Law” (HR 3004) similarly would undermine public safety and due process, while further focusing enforcement efforts against immigrants who are not public safety threats. This bill would heighten the already significant federal penalties for re-entry after deportation; punish asylum seekers; and impose severe new sentences for minor misdemeanors, such as driving without a license. Meanwhile, the bill also limits certain legal challenges against removal orders, limiting the ability of immigrants to challenge their removal. As AILA notes, this provision is “likely unconstitutional and will cause grave injustice to defendants, such as asylum seekers who were deported without the opportunity to seek asylum.”