Senator Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) announced Wednesday she is proposing a bill to ban funding for states that give illegal immigrants drivers licenses. “The Stop Greenlighting Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act” blocks certain federal funds to sanctuary states, including states that defy federal immigration enforcement or that allow illegal aliens to get driver licenses without proof of lawful presence,” Blackburn’s news release said.
“While Tennessee and many other states prohibit driver licenses for illegal aliens, a growing number of states are moving in the opposite direction and unleashing dangerous open borders policies,” said Senator Blackburn. “Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license. In America, no one is above the law.”
The “Stop Greenlighting Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Immigrants” Act is co-sponsored by Kevin Kramer (R., N.D.), Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.), Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.V.), and Mike Rounds (R.,S.D.), while Representative Ken Buck (R., Colo.) will carry the bill in the House of Representatives, National Review reported.
Blackburn’s announcement came on the heels of Attorney General William Barr’s announcement Tuesday that the Trump administration was implementing a “significant escalation” against sanctuary jurisdictions for “unconstitutionally interfering” with federal efforts to enforce immigration law.
California Sanctuary State
Despite a University of California, Berkeley study of more than 1,000 Californians in 2017 which found 74 percent oppose sanctuary city policies, legislative Democrats jammed through SB 54 to restrict local police and sheriffs from assisting or cooperating with federal immigration authorities… and despite that the UC Berkeley study results included 73 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of Hispanics.
Then-California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Léon (D-Los Angeles), and Capitol Democrats’ SB 54 created an (open) border-to-border sanctuary in the Golden State. De Léon said in 2017 that “half his family” was in the country illegally, using false documents, and eligible for deportation under President Trump’s new executive order against “sanctuary” jurisdictions, Breitbart California reported. Then-Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) has admitted that he’s an anchor baby. Lara is now State Insurance Commissioner.
At a speech to the Major County Sheriffs of America Winter Conference Tuesday, AG Barr addressed some of the problems with Sanctuary jurisdictions:
“Let me turn my attention to two substantial challenges to the rule of law we face today: so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions and, what I’ve been calling them, rogue DAs, who undermine – rather than advance – our ability to carry out effective law enforcement.”
“We will only be able to effectively support our over-burdened police and overcome their daunting challenges if federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies trust each other and work together.”
“But some state and local politicians have taken the precise opposite approach. Rather than work together with the federal government to discharge our shared duty, they do everything they can to impede federal law enforcement. The politicians who have established sanctuary jurisdictions apparently believe it is more important to help criminal aliens evade the law than it is to protect the safety of law-abiding individuals.”
“And I want to be clear who I am talking about. These policies are designed to protect, and do protect, criminal aliens – that is, aliens whom state or local police have arrested for some other state or local crime.”
“These policies have nothing to do with people who came to this country illegally, but have otherwise tried to be productive and peaceful members of our society. The very purpose of these policies is to release criminals onto the streets rather than turn them over to federal law enforcement for deportation as federal law requires.”
“Americans everywhere bear the cost of such policies. Innocent people are threatened and hurt by criminal aliens whom local jurisdictions have set free in the face of federal immigration detainers. Law enforcement officers in the field are put in harm’s way when criminals are freed rather than deported. And tragically, it is often the very immigrant communities that these policies supposedly protect that are most harmed when criminal aliens are returned to the streets.”
Blackburn’s bill would ban federal funding through the DOJ’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants for local law enforcement in the 13 states and the District of Columbia which currently allow illegal immigrants to receive state-issued drivers’ licenses. On Tuesday, the Virginia legislature passed two different bills that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in the state, NR reported.
A similar measure was proposed by Justice Department under then-attorney general Jeff Sessions in 2017 to combat sanctuary policies, but federal judges in Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, and New York all subsequently ruled against the Trump administration.
Barr’s speech to the sheriffs identified the root of the new policy:
“The policies of these DAs strike at the very root of our law enforcement system. Our system is based on graduated response, where we impose increasingly severe punishments based on an individual’s criminal history. This means we have to have accurate criminal histories if we are going to be able to protect the community. Even if we are going to treat early, and petty offenses leniently, we still need them charged and recorded so we know who we are dealing with as time goes by. Our whole system is undermined by the practice of ignoring whole categories of criminal offenses.”
“The policies of these DAs also sabotage the effectiveness of community policing and “precision” policing, which depend heavily on obtaining information from members of the community. When DAs engage in catch-and-release and revolving-door policies, people in the neighborhood who might otherwise provide information are scared to come forward. These innocent people are rightly worried that the offender will be right back out on the street in a position to do them harm. In some jurisdictions we are already seeing effective policing – that has taken decades of painstaking work to build – being dramatically undermined. Just in New York the other day, there was the case involving the MS-13 member who was released. A member of the community provided evidence, and was killed by an MS-13 member who was released under new legal reforms in New York state.”
“These DAs think they are helping people, but they end up hurting them. These policies actually lead to greater criminality.”
Barr noted since 1992, violent crime was cut in half nationwide. “It went up a bit in the last two years of the Obama administration, but since the beginning of the Trump administration, we have succeeded in pushing it back down.”
“We cannot allow all our hard work over the last 30 years to be undone by the wrong-headed policies of these so-called ‘reform’ DAs.”
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