Congress Wades Into Sanctuary Cities, Again

Congress’s crackdown on sanctuary cities comes with a strong sense of déjà-vu.

Back in 1996, lawmakers directed cities to comply with U.S. immigration laws, “notwithstanding any other provision of … state or local law …”

Yet sanctuary cities have flourished under Congress’s nose for the past 21 years.

Last week, the House repeated the verbiage in its “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (HR 3003).

Washington’s latest foray against sanctuary cities raises the stakes by threatening to withhold federal funding from non-compliant cities and states. One analysis estimates that the sanctuary jurisdictions of New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle could lose a combined $4.448 billion under HR 3003.

But any fiscal hit presupposes: 1) the Senate will pass the House bill and, 2) the law survives inevitable court challenges. With judges blocking President Donald Trump’s earlier effort to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, does HR 3003 provide enough legal ammunition? Though Congress has clear constitutional authority over appropriation of funds, such facts have not always deterred activist judges.

Unwilling to wait around, Texas enacted Senate Bill 4 to strip sanctuary cities of state law-enforcement funds and hold local officials liable for non-compliance. SB 4 does not recognize localities’ right to flout state law.

With SB 4 under review in federal court in San Antonio, pro-enforcement Congressman Lamar Smith – who authored Congress’s initial anti-sanctuary legislation in 1996 — took a shot at judicial meddling. “Rogue judges are a threat to democracy,” the Texas Republican told me last week. “Now, at least, we have a president willing to enforce the law.”

Amen, and amen.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    if ANY city REFUSES to work with federal agents to remove criminal illegal aliens… if they disobey the laws and protect and harbor illegal aliens.. they should NOT receive federal funding… IF THEY WANT FEDERAL FUNDS, THEY NEED TO BE TOLD THEY MUST OBEY THE FEDERAL LAWS…
    NO NON-citizen has the right to be in this country and it was WAY past time that we have someone who will ENFORCE our laws…
    the cities don’t like it..TOUGH!!! NO FEDERAL FUNDS…

      • avatar

        The federal money comes from these cities…unless Republican States most of the money comes from Blue States…that is a tough one ….

    • avatar

      The federal money comes from these cities…the irony is … This is a tough one. .

      How exactly affects you ? Because nobody really cares n ever cared. …

  2. avatar

    Sanctuary Cities are nothing more than holding pens for prey for Illegal Alien Criminals. Never mentioned is the existence of the U Visa which protects Illegal Aliens who report or are a victim of crime. I wonder why?
    U.S.Sanctuary Bills in Maryland Faced a Surprise Foe: Legal Immigrants

    “The failure of the sanctuary bills in Maryland reveals a potentially troublesome fissure for Democrats as they rush to defy Mr. Trump. Their party has staked out an activist position built around protecting undocumented immigrants. But it is one that has alienated many who might have been expected to support it.”

    Obama administration has admitted that Sanctuary Cities are a problem:

    But, within the above letter, doesn’t really address what the Obama administration will actually do about it to protect US Citizens:

    IGS poll: Californians oppose sanctuary city policies

    “Californians strongly oppose “sanctuary city” policies under which local authorities ignore federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants who have been arrested but are about to be released, according to a new poll released today by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at UC Berkeley.”