Senator Thom Tillis introduces Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, Meck Co. Sheriff responds

Gavel on sounding block
Gavel on sounding block(Source: Gray News)
Published: Jul. 10, 2019 at 4:57 PM EDT
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(WBTV) - On Tuesday, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, a proposed legislation that holds sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities.

Joining Tillis as original co-sponsors are Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

According to the press release, the proposed legislation 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 press release read.

Major provisions of the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act include:

  • Defining a “Sanctuary Jurisdiction”
  • Establishing civil action for the victims or family members of crimes committed by illegal immigrants benefiting from a sanctuary policy
  • Withholding grant funding for jurisdictions that refuse to comply with lawful requests

Tuesday’s press release says the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is a direct response to a growing number of sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation (including North Carolina’s Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, and Wake Counties) that either have official sanctuary policies or are “efusing to comply with detainer requests and release notifications from the Department of Homeland Security.”

“It’s disturbing to see sheriffs across North Carolina establish sanctuary jurisdictions, releasing dangerous individuals back into communities while refusing to notify federal immigration officials,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “If politicians want to prioritize reckless sanctuary policies over public safety, they should also be willing to provide just compensation for the victims. The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is commonsense legislation that will enhance public safety and hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for their refusal to cooperate with federal law enforcement.”

On Wednesday, Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry L. McFadden’s responded to the announcement of the proposed legislation.

Published summaries of the “Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act” suggest that this proposed legislation would set priorities for public safety in direct defiance of the demands of a huge number of North Carolinians, including the overwhelming majority of those living in seven of the state’s largest counties which make up close to 40% of the state’s total population. Sheriffs are elected to honor the mandates of their respective local communities with regard to, among other things, honoring voluntary Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and entering into 287(g) Agreements with ICE. Any attempt to force Sheriffs nationwide to detain individuals for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will not only negatively impact public safety in Mecklenburg County, NC, it will significantly erode the authority of all duly elected Sheriffs. The proposed legislation would strip the ability of states and local communities to establish their own public safety policies within their respective jurisdictions. Senator Tillis claims this is “commonsense legislation that will enhance public safety and hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for their refusal to cooperate with federal law enforcement.” Where is the concerted effort to hold the federal government accountable for its own significant immigration law failures? Where is the justice for the victim of a crime let alone the community as a whole that deserves to see charges prosecuted and the accused held accountable rather than simply deported before the criminal justice system has had the chance to work? If ICE believes an individual to be so extremely dangerous that he should remain in custody notwithstanding his ability to meet the terms and conditions of release set by a state court judge or magistrate, and ICE knows that individual has been previously deported, ICE can seek federal felony charges which would require a local Sheriff to hold that individual in custody. But legislation aimed at strong-arming the nation’s duly elected Sheriffs and bullying local governments into cooperation with ICE would be not only unconstitutional, it would do nothing to enhance public safety or cure the many decades of failures by the federal government to resolve ICE issues.

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