U.S. Representative Billy Long
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U.S. Representative Billy Long
February 21, 2020

The Real Cost of Sanctuary Cities 

During his State of the Union address, President Trump not only celebrated our nation’s accomplishments but reminded us that there is work still left to be done, including addressing our immigration crisis. The president campaigned on building a wall to help curb illegal immigration. Yet, Democrats have blocked his efforts at every turn, even going so far as to encourage people to come to this country illegally. I believe that we have a crisis at our southern border and ignoring it, as Democrats propose, will come at a considerable cost to the American people. It is time that we adopt policies that put American citizens first, and I intend to work with President Trump and my colleagues to reform our immigration system.

As you may know, sanctuary cities are municipalities that refuse to enforce federal immigration law by deliberately failing to communicate with federal agencies on the immigration status of individuals in their jurisdiction. Additionally, these cities refuse to aid federal law enforcement agencies in the apprehension of criminal aliens. These cities allow illegal immigrants to remain in their jurisdiction even if they are violent criminals, drug dealers, gang members or have been previously deported.

The only sanctuary these cities create is a sanctuary for violent criminals. That is why Attorney General Bill Barr recently announced a slew of sanctions against these left-wing local and state governments who unconstitutionally interfere with federal immigration enforcement. These sanctuary policies are generally about protecting criminals that law enforcement has already arrested for local crimes which pose a major threat to domestic security. The DOJ has filed a federal complaint against the state of New Jersey for forbidding state and local law enforcement from sharing vital information about criminal aliens with DHS and has filed another suit against King County, Washington for unlawfully prohibiting DHS from deporting illegal aliens from the U.S. through King County International Airport. While the Constitution does give states police power and doesn’t require states to implement or enforce federal immigration law, it clearly prohibits them from actively sabotaging federal immigration officials, which is exactly what these so-called “sanctuaries” are doing.

I am strongly opposed to cities and municipalities declaring themselves sanctuaries for those who would deliberately violate our laws. In an effort to end sanctuary cities, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 516, the Ending Sanctuary Cities Act. This bill would make cities that violate our nation’s immigration laws ineligible for federal financial assistance. Last year, New York became the 13th state to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, while still prohibiting federal immigration officials from accessing Department of Motor Vehicle data. These actions may seem harmless until you take the time to consider the ramifications. In New York, Department of Motor Vehicle data was used to “arrest 149 child predators, identified and rescued 105 victims of exploitation and human trafficking, arrest 230 gang members, and seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and opioids,” according to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. Unfortunately, we could see a significant reduction in these success stories as New York’s new green-light law threatens to terminate the federal-state cooperation necessary to make these arrests.

We are a nation of immigrants; however, those who wish to come to the United States should do so through the proper channels and respect our laws. We must address our antiquated immigration laws and improve security at our southern border; we must also pass laws that make it harder for states to undermine our national security. I will continue to work with my colleagues to pass laws that safeguard national security policies and put American citizens first. 

For more information on my activities in our district and in Washington, I encourage you to follow my Facebook page at facebook.com/Rep.Billy.Long and my Twitter page at twitter.com/USRepLong. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter, "Long's Short Report," by visiting https://long.house.gov/forms/emailsignup/

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