“California’s sanctuary state law has unleashed completely avoidable tragedy across the state. Sanctuary policies are designed not to protect all immigrants or even undocumented immigrants, rather, they specifically protect individuals both in this country illegally and who have committed crimes while here. My No Sanctuary for Criminals Act enacts a nationwide prohibition on these dangerous policies.” – Congressman Kevin Kiley (R-CA-03)
Background: Over 200 cities, counties, and states across America have defined their jurisdiction as a “sanctuary city” or “sanctuary state,” restricting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. These restrictions include preventing Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials from detaining individuals who have been arrested and are believed to be deportable from the United States, even those who have committed violent crimes. The refusal of jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE has led to thousands of criminal aliens evading deportation – in Fiscal Year 2017, over 8,000 criminal aliens were released despite an ICE retainer due to sanctuary policies, and ICE was only able to apprehend and arrest 6% of those individuals.
The use of an ICE detainer is a critical tool of law enforcement to deport the most dangerous individuals. In Fiscal Year 2019, ICE issued 165,487 detainers for individuals whose criminal histories included 56,000 assaults, 14,500 sex crimes, 5,000 robberies, 2,500 homicides, and 2,500 kidnappings. As the number of sanctuary jurisdictions grows, the ability of ICE to remove known dangerous individuals from the United States is increasingly hindered.
California’s status as a sanctuary state has already resulted in violent individuals who otherwise would have been deported being released back into the community. To take one example, David Mora was in the United States illegally and was arrested and detained in Merced County for resisting arrest, battery on a police officer, and driving under the influence. Mora was released on bail and went on within days to brutally murder his 9, 10, and 13 year-old daughters, along with a church chaperone, in a Sacramento County church. The Merced County Sheriff’s Office was legally prohibited from notifying ICE of Mora’s release under California’s sanctuary state law.
Rep. Kiley’s landmark No Sanctuary for Criminals Act of 2023 puts an end to sanctuary policies by prohibiting local and state jurisdictions from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities through amending Section 642 of the Illegal Immigration and Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996. You can read a copy of the bill here.