President Trump highlights proposed legislation that would allow victims to sue sanctuary cities

President Trump highlights proposed legislation that would allow victims to sue sanctuary cities
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Source: Patrick Semansky)

(WBTV) - During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump highlighted a legislation introduced by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) that would allow victims to sue sanctuary cities.

“Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens. In sanctuary cities, local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed,” President Trump said. “Senator Thom 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. I ask Congress to pass the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act immediately. The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens.”

The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act would create 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. The bill allows “any individual, spouse, or child who is a victim [of] a violent crime or felony” to sue, if the injury results from a local municipality not cooperating with an ICE detainer or other request from the Department of Homeland Security, according to a summary from Tillis’s office.

Sen. Tillis provided a statement in response to Trump’s mention Tuesday night.

“Thank you to President Trump for taking the time in his State of the Union speech to highlight the danger sanctuary policies bring to families across the country,” said Senator Tillis. “These reckless policies are being implemented in North Carolina’s largest counties and putting families at risk, and that is why I have introduced multiple bills and worked with local sheriffs to change federal law and make communities safer. I will continue to work with my colleagues and President Trump to end sanctuary policies once and for all, and I appreciate the Administration’s commitment to work with Congress to protect Americans from the reckless policies.”

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

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry L. McFadden’s responded to the announcement of the proposed legislation in 2019.

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.
Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry L. McFadden’s Response

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