Alexander: “Sanctuary Cities” Must Follow Federal Immigration Law “as It Is Written, Not as They Wish It Had Been Written”

Posted on October 20, 2015

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“It is the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the president—not cities or states—to establish our nation’s immigration laws.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 20 –Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted to begin debate on legislation that would have reduced or eliminated certain federal grants to states, cities, counties or towns that fail to comply with federal immigration law.

“It is the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the president—not cities or states—to establish our nation’s immigration laws,” Alexander said. “Until Washington acts to fix our broken immigration system, cities are obligated to follow federal law as it is written, not as they wish it had been written.”

The Senate vote to begin debate on S. 2146, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, which failed 54 to 45, would have:

  • Required the Obama administration to identify and publish a list of cities or counties that do not meet federal immigration information sharing requirements.
  • Protected local law enforcement officers who act in accordance with federal immigration laws.
  • Increased the maximum penalty for any alien who illegally re-enters the country after deportation.
  • Eliminated State Criminal Assistance Program grants, Community Oriented Policing Services grants, and some community development block grants to states, cities, counties or towns that fail to comply with federal immigration information sharing requirements.

Alexander voted in June 2013 in favor of legislation to fix our immigration system. The legislation would have added 20,000 border patrol agents, enough to put one agent every 1,000 feet along the U.S. southwest border, constructed 700 miles of new or upgraded fencing and spent $3.2 billion on new security technology. Read more here.

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

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