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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 3100 - Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act

July 06, 2016



(Sen. Toomey, R-PA, and Sen. Inhofe, R-OK)

The Administration strongly opposes S. 3100. This bill fails to offer comprehensive reforms needed to fix the Nation's broken immigration laws, and undermines current Administration efforts to remove the most dangerous convicted criminals and national security threats, and to work collaboratively with State and local law enforcement agencies.

The Administration continues to believe that it is critical to fix the Nation's broken immigration system through comprehensive commonsense legislation that builds on existing efforts to strengthen border security, cracks down on employers hiring undocumented workers, streamlines legal immigration, increases the efficiency of the immigration court system, and offers an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to get right with the law if they pass background checks, contribute to the Nation's economy by paying taxes, and go to the back of the line. While the Senate passed comprehensive legislation with strong bipartisan support over three years ago that would do just that, the House of Representatives failed to take any action. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bipartisan Senate bill would grow the Nation's economy by 5.4 percent and reduce Federal deficits by nearly $1 trillion over 20 years. The Administration continues to urge the Congress to address all of the problems with the Nation's broken immigration system and take up commonsense legislation that will offer meaningful solutions to those problems.

The Administration also believes the most effective way to enhance public safety is through sensible and effective policies that focus enforcement resources on the most significant public safety threats. The Administration has put in place new enforcement priorities that accomplish this important law enforcement goal by focusing limited resources on the worst offenders – including national security threats, convicted criminals, and gang members. The effectiveness of these new priorities depends on collaboration between Federal, State, and local law enforcement. Every day, the Federal government fosters State and local collaboration through a variety of mechanisms, including policies, programs, and joint task forces. The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) enables Federal immigration enforcement to work with State and local law enforcement to take custody of individuals who are enforcement priorities before those individuals are released into communities. PEP builds collaboration between Federal, State, and local law enforcement that allows for the most effective enforcement while enhancing community policing and trust. It is not a "one-size-fits all" approach. These efforts are producing results. Today, over 99 percent of those in immigration detention fit within one of the enforcement priorities, and 91 percent of all interior removals in FY 2015 were convicted criminals. Additionally, the vast majority of the Nation's approximately 3,100 local law enforcement agencies are collaborating with DHS. This bill would directly undermine these efforts and undo the progress made in building trust between Federal, State and local law enforcement in focusing our resources on threats to public safety.

S. 3100 would also jeopardize the ability of State and local governments to receive Federal funding that is critical to their efforts to grow and revitalize their communities. For some jurisdictions, it would deny funding for cities to implement a wide range of community development, infrastructure, and housing activities and provide vital public services, including meals to the elderly and affordable child care for low-income, working families. The bill also would deem State and local law enforcement officials to act as the agents of Federal immigration law enforcement—and to have the authority of Federal immigration law enforcement officials— in certain circumstances. The Administration believes that these provisions would lead to mistrust between communities and State and local law enforcement agencies; undermine the ability of law enforcement to keep communities safe across the country; and impede our efforts to safely, fairly, and effectively enforce the Nation's immigration laws.

If the President were presented with S. 3100, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 3100 - Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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