House Judiciary Committee News Release

Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “Sanctuary Cities: A Threat to Public Safety.” The hearing will examine dangerous policies adopted by some state and local governments that refuse to honor the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws, and the Obama Administration’s complicity in this problem.

Specifically, sanctuary jurisdictions refuse to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers or notification requests, which are the tools that federal immigration enforcement agents use to pick up criminal aliens in local jails. Incredibly, policies implemented by Obama Administrationofficials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorize sanctuary city policies. Under the Administration’s “Priority Enforcement Program,” the Administration ratifies sanctuary jurisdictions by allowing states and localities to ignore detainer requests.

As a result of these policies, many unlawful and criminal aliens are released back into American communities. Recently, Kate Steinle was murdered by a criminal alien who had been released by San Francisco officials, despite having been deported five times and being convicted of multiple felonies. Despite this recent tragedy and others, at a DHS oversight hearing earlier this week Secretary Jeh Johnson continued to argue that ICE detainers should not be made mandatory.

Witnesses for this hearing will be announced soon. Below are statements from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on this hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Sanctuary city policies needlessly endanger American lives by refusing to honor the federal government’s authority to enforce immigration laws. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration’s own foolish policies enable rogue local governments to defy federal immigration laws. All too often, these reckless policies create preventable tragedies.

“The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation earlier this year to make ICE detainers mandatory and withhold federal grants from sanctuary jurisdictions. Next week, we will take a closer look at this problem and determine if other steps can be taken by Congress to prevent states and cities from adopting such irresponsible policies.”

Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “The border is porous, there are insufficient internal security mechanisms in place, and this administration has embraced non-enforcement and a constitutionally-suspect rewriting of what inadequate current laws do exist. These administration policies enable the willful failure of localities to respect detainers and create more than benign-sounding things like ‘sanctuary’ cities. It creates gaping holes in our criminal justice system, which leads to deadly consequences.

“In March, our Committee passed legislation to strengthen the internal enforcement of our immigration laws, which included addressing sanctuary cities.Congress should move forward to address this problem, and it should not take the death of another innocent life to force us to act.”

This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally-credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.

To learn more about the Obama Administration’s poor immigration enforcement record, go to:

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