GOP touts Senate bill to punish 'sanctuary cities'

Republicans are touting a bill to prohibit federal funding for so-called "sanctuary cities" like San Francisco that do not prosecute undocumented immigrants. 

One of the sponsors of the measure, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), said in the Republican weekly address on Saturday that the Stop Sanctuary Policies Act would "addresses the terrible problem of ‘sanctuary cities'" and "help make our communities safer.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Under this commonsense legislation, sanctuary cities would lose federal funds if they maintain these dangerous policies," he said. "We have to take this step in order to get these cities to do the right thing and stop undermining our immigration laws." 

Toomey said the GOP-led Senate will vote on the anti-sanctuary cities bill, which he is co-sponsoring with Sen. David VitterDavid VitterGOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator Louisiana Republicans: This isn’t like Sandy MORE (R-La.) next week.

"The Senate will vote on this legislation Tuesday," he continued. "I urge you to speak out and encourage your Senators to vote for the Stop Sanctuary Policies Act and help keep our communities safe." 

The fight over sanctuary cities comes at time when Congress is gridlocked over reforms to federal immigration policies. 

The Senate approved a high-profile immigration bill in 2013, but the House has refused to take up the measure.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto previous efforts to block funding to sanctuary cities, citing a 2014 executive order from Obama that directs federal officials to focus deportations on convicted criminals.

Toomey said in the weekly address that cutting off funding to cities that ignore federal immigration laws "should be a bipartisan effort." 

"President Obama’s own Secretary of Homeland Security has declared that sanctuary cities are, quote, ‘not acceptable’ and ‘counter-productive to public safety.’ After all, we’re talking about criminals who the Obama Administration already has deemed dangerous enough to deserve removal from our country."