NILC Opposes Bills Attacking Community-Policing Policies

July 5, 2016

Juan Gastelum, [email protected], 213-375-3149

NILC Opposes Bills Attacking Community-Policing Policies

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is expected to vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether to consider two bills that, by attacking so-called sanctuary cities, where local police have adopted practices to encourage community safety for all residents, threaten to undo hard-won community-policing policies. One bill, S. 3100, sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would withhold federal funds for economic, social, and community development services from local governments with “sanctuary” jurisdictions. The other, known as Kate’s Law and sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), would impose additional mandatory minimum sentencing for undocumented immigrants charged with illegal reentry, at a cost of $2 billion to taxpayers.

The following is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Sen. Toomey’s proposal is an affront to communities that have fought to ensure that all residents, regardless of where they were born, feel safe in our communities and feel safe interacting with local police. It is an attempt to coerce cities into adopting policies that undermine public safety and should not be allowed to become law. Sen. Cruz’s bill should also be rejected. It would waste billions of taxpayer dollars and force a draconian, one-size-fits-all punishment at a time when criminal justice reform advocates from both sides of the aisle are calling for more, not less, discretion.

“The practical effect of further criminalizing immigrants and threatening to withhold funds designated for much-needed community and economic development programs is to pit vulnerable populations—especially people of color—against each other. We know that communities are safer when local governments and law enforcements officials don’t have to act as immigration agents. And it is simply unacceptable to hold hostage funds intended to help communities prosper.

“Senators should see past Toomey’s rhetoric and recognize tomorrow’s votes on the motions to proceed for what they are: an effort to exploit rising nativism to scapegoat immigrants. We are better than this, and the Senate should be, too. We fully expect those who believe in sound policy to vote ‘no’ tomorrow on the motions to proceed.”

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