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Attacking Sanctuary Cities Is NOT a Solution: NO to S. 2146

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LAWG joins immigrant, civil rights and labor organizations in signing a letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid urging them to oppose the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S. 2146), proposed by Senator Vitter (R-LA), and any similar legislation that would jeopardize public safety by damaging the confidence built between residents and local law enforcement.

As the letter says, the Vitter bill “is simply another enforcement-only bill that does not offer any solutions and instead targets localities that have adopted community trust policies by taking away millions of dollars in federal funding for programs including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants that could be used to make communities stronger. This bill adds a mandatory minimum sentencing provision of five years that would tie the hands of judges, put thousands of non-violent offenders behind bars at a high premium to taxpayers.”

A broad and diverse coalition of civil society, faith organizations, and law enforcement agree that opposing sanctuary cities policies and perpetuating enforcement-only immigration policies is not a solution, but rather is counterproductive. Over 1,000 faith leaders have also sent a letter in defense of sanctuary cities and opposing “legislation that would further criminalize undocumented immigrants or infringe on the rights of states, cities, localities and police departments to regulate how they interact with ICE.” The Major County Sheriffs’ Association and Major Cities Chiefs Association sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to S. 2146 with its “cuts in funding that weaken State and local agencies.” Instead of proposing costly legislation that attacks sanctuary city policies, erodes community trust, and criminalizing immigrant families living in the United States, it is time for Congress to get back to work on legislation for comprehensive immigration reform that would bring millions of immigrants living and working in the United States out of the shadows.

The Latin America Working Group continues to urge Congress to move away from enforcement-only policies both within the United States and south of our border as well. We remain concerned that Congress and the Administration are exporting models of immigration enforcement and criminalization, especially in Mexico, that put migrants in transit at great risk, and expose them to increasing violence from organized crime as well as corrupt officials.

For more information, see our petition here.

To contact your Senator TODAY, October 20th, and urge them to vote NO on the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act,” click here.