Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Urges Crackdown On Sanctuary Cities

Jul 6, 2016
Press Release
U.S. Senate To Debate Illegal Immigration Bills, Including Kate’s Law

“You Don’t Get Federal Funds If You Ignore Federal Law”

WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan today urged the U.S. Senate to swiftly pass two important bills cutting federal funding for “sanctuary cities” and toughening penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act and Kate’s Law.

Currently there are more than 300 cities, counties and states across the U.S. with laws or policies on the books that prevent the enforcement of immigration laws.

“Congress has an obligation to protect Americans from dangerous criminals,” Buchanan said. “These two bills ensure we prioritize public safety and will prohibit taxpayer dollars to locations that provide safe harbor to illegal immigrants. You shouldn’t get federal funds if you ignore federal law.”

Specifically, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act strips federal funding from communities that prohibit law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration officers. Buchanan is a strong supporter of similar legislation that passed the U.S. House last year.

Kate’s Law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for any illegal immigrant that has previously been deported and re-enters the country. Congress previously took action on sanctuary cities right after 32-year old Kate Steinle was brutally murdered over a year ago on July 1, 2015 while walking along a pier with her family in San Francisco, Calif. The alleged perpetrator, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant, shot Steinle in front of her father during broad daylight. Lopez-Sanchez was quickly arrested and charged.

However, it was later revealed Lopez-Sanchez had seven felonies and was deported five times to Mexico, according to federal immigration officials. And just a few months before the killing, Lopez-Sanchez was back on the streets after serving time for an outstanding drug warrant despite a request from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that he should be kept in custody until agents could pick him up. The warrant was dropped against Lopez-Sanchez and he was thus released from San Francisco Jail as a result of the city’s sanctuary law.

Buchanan voted in support of the House-passed Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act last year.

“These sanctuary cities should be held accountable for ignoring the law,” Buchanan said. “It’s time the Senate follows the House’s lead and allows our federal law enforcement officials to protect the public and enforce existing laws.”

Several of the nation’s leading law enforcement and immigration organizations have endorsed the Sanctuary Cities bill, including the National Sheriff’s Association, National Association of Policy Organizations, and Federal for American Immigration Reform.