Alexander Votes to Block Federal Aid to “Sanctuary” Cities That Violate Immigration Laws

Posted on July 6, 2016

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted to begin debate on legislation that would have reduced or eliminated certain federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities – states, cities, counties or towns that violate federal immigration law. He also voted to begin debate on Kate’s Law, which would increase criminal penalties for illegal immigrants with criminal records who re-enter the country illegally after being deported. Senate Democrats blocked both bills from moving forward.

“The Constitution gives the federal government— not mayors or governors—the responsibility of establishing our nation’s immigration laws. Washington needs to fix our broken immigration system, but until then, cities must follow federal law as it is written, not as they wish it had been written,” Alexander said. “I supported Kate’s Law because if the federal government won’t enforce the border the way it should be enforced, then we should lock up illegal immigrants with criminal records who have been deported and return illegally.”

The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act would have:

  • Protected local law enforcement officers who act in accordance with federal immigration laws.
  • Limited Community Development Block Grants and certain Economic Development Administration Grants for states, cities, counties or towns that fail to comply with federal immigration information sharing requirements.
  • Required the funds withheld from so-called sanctuary cities to be sent to states, cities, counties or towns who follow federal immigration laws.

Kate’s Law would have:

  • Imposed a five-year mandatory minimum sentence on any immigrant who re-enters the country illegally after being deported if they were previously convicted of an aggravated felony, or were convicted two previous times for illegally entering the country.
  • Increased maximum sentences to five years for any immigrant who illegally re-enters the country after being deported or denied entry.
  • Increased maximum sentences to 10 years for any immigrant who illegally re-enters the U.S. after having been deported, previously convicted of three or more misdemeanors or one felony, or denied entry for any reason regarding terrorism. The 10-year maximum would also apply to those illegally re-entering who had not completed a previous prison sentence or had previously been denied entry or deported three or more times.

In October 2015 Alexander supported legislation that included similar sanctuary cities and Kate’s Law provisions. And in June 2013, Alexander voted for legislation that would have fixed our broken immigration system by adding 20,000 border patrol agents, constructed 700 miles of new or upgraded fencing, and provided $3.2 billion for new security technology.


For access to this release and the senator’s other statements, click here.

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