Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Votes to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities

Jun 30, 2017
Press Release
House Passes Two Major Bills Co-Sponsored by the Congressman

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

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House has passed two bills backed by Congressman Vern Buchanan cracking down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities – jurisdictions with laws or policies on the books that prevent the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Buchanan is a co-sponsor of the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law, which both now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Specifically, the two bills would cut federal funds for sanctuary cities and toughen penalties against anyone who re-enters the country after being deported.

“Taxpayer dollars should not be going to jurisdictions that provide safe harbor to dangerous criminals,” Buchanan said. “These two bills ensure we prioritize public safety. Washington must send a strong signal to these cities: you don’t get federal funds if you ignore federal law.”

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

The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act withholds federal funding from communities that prohibit law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration officers.

Kate’s Law imposes enhanced criminal penalties for any illegal immigrant that has previously been deported and re-enters the country. The proposal is named after 32-year old Kate Steinle, who two years ago was murdered while walking along a pier with her family in San Francisco, Calif.

The alleged perpetrator, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant, had seven felonies and was deported five times to Mexico. 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 be kept in custody until agents could pick him up. The warrant was dropped and he was released from San Francisco Jail as a result of the city’s sanctuary law.

“While we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws,” Buchanan said. “It’s time the Senate acts to allow federal law enforcement officials to protect the public and enforce existing laws.”

Buchanan has been a strong supporter of defunding sanctuary cities and enforcing federal immigration laws. In 2015 he voted in support of the House-passed Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act. Last fall Buchanan urged Congress to pass legislation that would strip federal funding to sanctuary jurisdictions after several major American cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, pledged they would continue their policies in defiance of President-elect Trump.