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CHC Reacts to Passage of Anti-Immigrant Bills

Jun 29, 2017
Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) issued the following statements in reaction to the House’s passage of “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003) and “Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004). Earlier today, CHC Members hosted a press conference to speak out against the bills. The bills now head to the Senate for consideration:
 
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01): “New Mexico communities will be less safe as a result of the President’s attempt to punish all immigrants and their families, rather than focus on violent criminals who pose a real threat to public safety,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said after voting against the bills.
 
“No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003)
“Law enforcement groups oppose this bill because it will undercut the ability of local police to keep communities safe,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “Local police departments, including many in New Mexico, would rather focus on fighting violent crime, not wasting time and resources to enforce immigration laws and sweeping up people with no criminal record.”
 
“Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004)
“I also oppose the President’s effort to criminalize immigrants who are guilty of nothing more than trying to keep their families intact,” Rep. Lujan Grisham said. “My heart goes out to family of the victim in that horrific murder in San Francisco. The offender will face justice for this murder. However, the President is exploiting a horrible tragedy. We all want violent offenders, whether they are here legally or not, to be held accountable under our criminal laws. But using tragedy as a political tool to justify mass deportation of all immigrants is shameful. Nobody should face up to a decade in prison only because of their immigration status, and not any sort of criminal act.”
 
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-13): “Today, House Republicans are pushing another heartless attack on immigrants and their families.  This ‘deportation policy’ is an affront to American values and to our way of life. This policy of deportation is predicated on a politics of division. 
 
“These measures are designed to create fear among immigrants and their families.  Let’s be clear – our nation is a nation of immigrants. I come from New York City. In my district – New York’s 7th – at one point 86 languages were spoken – representing the depth and breadth of our nation’s immigrant heritage.   As I always like to say, in New York, immigrants are our neighbors.  And New Yorkers stand up for their neighbors.
 
“But not only are these bills an affront to our values – they are poor public policy that simply will not work.   The Sanctuary Cities bill would require local law enforcement to be an accomplice in enforcing federal immigration policy – or risk losing federal funds.  You are telling me that a City like New York City – which always has a risk of terrorism – has to choose between federal security funds and our history of diversity?  That’s unacceptable.  And, let’s remember, when you create distrust between local law enforcement and immigration communities, we are all less safe. 
 
“Meanwhile, H.R. 3004 would drastically increase penalties on immigrants seeking re-entry, many of whom simply wish to be reunited with their families.  Yet, the bill would do nothing to make us safer. There are already laws on the books punishing people for illegally re-entering the United States. 
 
“These bills are not about making us safer.  They are about scapegoating, attacking and castigating immigrants. They are about sowing fear in immigrant communities and playing off prejudice and distrust.   We are a better nation than this. We are a nation of immigrants. And we will oppose these repugnant attacks on immigrant communities.”
 
Rep. Lou Correa (CA-46): “These two devastating anti-immigrant bills actually hurt our police officers’ ability to keep communities safe, demonize immigrants, and undermine the constitution. If you come to America with hatred in your heart and an intent to do harm, then there is no place for you America. Sadly, these bills do not distinguish between felons and families whose only crime is being here undocumented, branding millions of hard working taxpayers as criminals.”
 
Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51): “As a member of Committee on Homeland Security, I strongly oppose taking away funding from our big cities like Los Angeles, who rely on federal funding to protect us against terrorism.  These bills are part of a continuing effort by President Trump to attack immigrants. We need to stop it and we need to stand up. The bottom-line is this will not make us safer, would not have prevented the death of Kate, and both bills actually puts us in greater harm because it would take away funding from cities who reply upon that funding.”
 
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40): “Today, the House approved two punitive, anti-immigrant bills: H.R. 3003, the so-called “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” and H.R. 3004, the so-called “Kate’s Law.”  These cruel and unnecessary bills help to convert Donald Trump's vicious immigration rhetoric into policy that threatens the safety of our country and our communities.
 
“H.R. 3003 coerces states and localities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement, and bans them from receiving crucial federal funds if these jurisdictions don't comply.  The bill also expands DHS's authority to detain individuals, even allowing them to be held in detention indefinitely, a provision which may violate the Fourth Amendment.
 
“H.R. 3004 expands prosecutions for individuals for unauthorized re-entry and attempted re-entry into the United States.  Under this bill, even asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking could be prosecuted by the federal government for simply entering the country.  It would even allow prosecution of individuals who seek to re-enter the U.S. with legal authorization to do so.
 
“These bills do clear and direct damage to America's safety and America's values.  We do not make America more secure by holding ransom local law enforcement funds that keep us safe.  We don’t fight crime by making residents less likely to report crime.  We do not honor America's humanitarian history by prosecuting asylum seekers and human trafficking victims.  We do not honor family values by keeping immigrant families separated.  We do not preserve America's strength as a thriving nation of immigrants by encouraging fear of those who have come to make our nation stronger.  We do not preserve, protect, and defend the US Constitution by letting law enforcement flout the Fourth Amendment, or by detaining individuals indefinitely.
 
“These bills leave American communities less protected in the face of threats large and small.  These bills insult America's reputation as a welcoming beacon for every nation, race, and faith.  We must keep America safe, but we will not do so by demonizing and persecuting innocent immigrants.  We need a sensible immigration policy, not one rooted in fear and hate.  I call on Republicans to join me and my Democratic colleagues in developing a comprehensive immigration reform plan that keeps our borders secure, addresses the need for temporary workers, resolves the status of DREAMers and millions of other undocumented immigrants, and provides a path to citizenship.”
 
Rep. Filemon Vela (TX-34): "Republicans in the US House of Representatives and the Trump Administration continue to demonize immigrant communities as an excuse to build up their deportation machine. Like Texas Senate Bill 4, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act would require local law enforcement to engage in federal immigration enforcement under the pretense of “safety and security.” But that sham is quickly exposed after minimal scrutiny of the measure’s text.  The bill would punish cities and towns that refuse to comply with constitutionally-questionable detainers by stripping them of the very funds they need to protect residents. That is not pro-safety - that is extortion to fulfill a racist agenda, plain and simple. Today, I joined the Fraternal Order of Police and the United States Conference of Mayors in opposing the bill."
 
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03): “Local law enforcement officials should have the resources they need to protect and serve all the residents in their care. Withholding funds from first responders and the communities they serve will not improve conditions, but it will make undocumented residents who are victims of heinous crimes like rape or abuse less likely to report those incidents – and it will needlessly punish communities that are doing their best to address local problems at the local level. Today’s proposal in the House is nearly identical to the proposal floated earlier this year by the Trump Administration. The effects would certainly be as damaging and ignores the realities on the ground.”
 
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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
 
Media Contact:
Carlos Paz Jr.
202-525-0053