WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today voted in favor of advancing two bills – the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act and the Stop Illegal Reentry Act – that would encourage American cities that harbor illegal immigrants to comply with federal law and punish individuals who repeatedly enter the United States illegally.
Both bills were drafted in response to the tragic death of Kathryn “Kate” Steinle, who was shot in San Francisco on July 1, 2015 by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. Sanchez had previously been deported five times and had seven felony convictions. Despite this criminal record and a detainer request placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department released Sanchez from its custody in April 2015. In releasing Sanchez, the Sheriff’s Department cited a San Francisco city ordinance that directed it to decline to honor the ICE immigration detainer.
“Current federal law does not do enough to punish state and local governments who have ignored federal immigration enforcement efforts,” said Coats. “By refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, sanctuary cities are putting American citizens at risk. The ordinances that sanctuary cities have in place prevent law enforcement from doing their jobs. We need to stop rewarding sanctuary cities that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants.”
The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act would make American cities safer by helping federal officials better coordinate with local law enforcement officers to curtail illegal immigration. The Stop Illegal Reentry Act appropriately punishes those who continually flout our immigration laws.
Both bills failed to receive the 60 votes needed to advance.