In the aftermath of the tragic killing of Kate Steinle, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant, the country is divided in its support for sanctuary cities. What is a sanctuary city? How is Donald Trump involved?
What is a sanctuary city or state?
While there is no firm definition, in general the term applies to local governments that have adopted policies restricting cooperation with federal immigration authorities by local law enforcement agencies. In practice, it means that local law enforcement will protect undocumented immigrants who have been arrested, but don’t have criminal records, from federal deportation agents (by not reporting them to the government).
H.R. 3009 “The Donald Trump Act”
H.R. 3009 is a significant piece of immigration legislation, dubbed “The Donald Trump Act” because of his outspoken condemnations against sanctuary cities. It aims to deter cities and states from declaring themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, by cutting off federal grants from participating law enforcement agencies. It would prohibit federal funding from going to any city, local, or state law enforcement agency that gets grants through the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program, if the agency complies with local sanctuary laws for undocumented immigrants. It would also make those sanctuary cities, counties, and states ineligible to receive funding through the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.
Background: COPS Program
Many state and local law enforcement agencies receive grants from the Department of Justice’s COPS Program, which go toward hiring police officers, combating specific crimes, and developing trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In its fiscal year 2014 budget request, the Justice Department asked Congress to provide $439.5 million for the COPS program — an increase of $241 million from its funding the year prior.
House Passes “Donald Trump Act” in Landslide Vote
The House of Representatives, on July 23, passed H.R. 3009 with 241 votes for and 179 votes against.