Hunter: Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities

Mar 16, 2011 Issues: Immigration

Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter introduced the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act, legislation that denies State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funding to any state or political subdivision that has in place any law, policy or procedure in contravention of federal immigration law.  SCAAP provides financial assistance to states and localities for some of the costs incurred for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens.

“States and cities that refuse to thoroughly and consistently enforce federal immigration laws directly undermine our nation’s enforcement efforts,” said Congressman Hunter.  “For many of these states and localities, despite maintaining sanctuary policies, SCAAP remains an available funding source for the purpose of paying salaries, overtime costs, bonuses and other things.  If these entities are unwilling to enforce the law and report to federal officials, it only makes sense to restrict reimbursement, especially when it is provided by taxpayers, to help cover the cost of incarceration. 

“States and localities would otherwise accept this responsibility or, in the best case scenario, begin complying with federal law.  It is important that we look to other areas of funding as well, with the intent of urging compliance.  Denying SCAAP funding creates no direct risk to community safety and other similar programs, which states and localities continue to tap for federal funding, should certainly be examined under the same approach.”

Between Fiscal Year 1995 and Fiscal Year 2009, more than $5 billion has been distributed to states in SCAAP funding.  California has received the largest SCAAP return among states – receiving more than $1.7 billion since the program’s inception. 

The legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and was introduced with 20 original cosponsors.