WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) issued the following statement regarding President Trump's executive orders instructing the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to investigate ways to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities.
"I was pleased to see President Trump take this preliminary step to help end dangerous sanctuary cities. This is a crucial issue of public safety, which I have pursued since 2015.
"I was especially pleased to see that President Trump adopted my approach of attempting to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. While this is an important first step, more needs to be done, as President Trump is limited in what he can accomplish through Executive Order. We need legislation to ensure local police are not subject to lawsuits for good faith efforts to cooperate with federal law enforcement to remove dangerous criminals and terrorists from our streets. And only Congress can act to withhold millions of dollars of formula grants and thus provide the incentive needed to prompt sanctuary cities to change their policies.
"It is crucial we end dangerous sanctuary cities. America has repeatedly seen the devastating effects of sanctuary city policies. In Philadelphia, we have seen three child molesters--two charged and one convicted--released onto the streets due to the city's sanctuary city policy. San Francisco's policy led to the release of an illegal immigrant--previously convicted of seven felonies and deported five times before--who went on to murder 32-year-old Kate Steinle.
"I will continue fight to protect our communities from violent criminals and suspected terrorists who are in the U.S. illegally. I call on Congress to join me, and pass my Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act."
Earlier this month, Sen. Toomey introduced the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S.87), a bill designed to protect our communities from violent criminals and suspected terrorists who are in the U.S. illegally. This's legislation is identical to the bill Sen. Toomey introduced in 2016, which received majority, bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Toomey's legislation withholds certain federal funds from sanctuary cities-- jurisdictions that forbid their local law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials. These jurisdictions impose terrible costs on Americans, and federal taxpayers should not be subsidizing them. Withholding funds will hopefully encourage many jurisdictions to change their policies. The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act also addresses recent court decisions that may leave local police liable for errors by the Department of Homeland Security. Sen. Toomey's legislation preserves an individual's right to sue if a law enforcement officer commits any violation of the individual's civil or constitutional rights. His bill ensures that if the federal government committed the error or violated a right, the individual sues the federal government, not a local official acting in good faith and in compliance with a request from the Department of Homeland Security.
Too often, local police want to work with federal officers to take dangerous criminals and suspected terrorists off the streets, but are forbidden from doing so by local politicians who impose sanctuary city policies.
Leaders from across the political spectrum agree that sanctuary cities pose a serious threat. President Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, opposes sanctuary city policies. Ed Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania and lifelong Democrat, has also criticized Philadelphia's sanctuary city policy.