WASHINGTON, D.C.–Ending Sanctuary Cities in America that give refuge to illegal immigrants was the goal of a proposal that failed in the U.S. Senate Tuesday. Both Mississippi senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, Republicans, voted for the bill.
The House of Representatives approved a similar bill in July.
“We have a responsibility to protect American families,” said Wicker in a statement. “Violent criminals who are in our country illegally should not be encouraged to find refuge in so-called ‘sanctuary cities.’ This legislation would have been an important step toward preventing crimes like the one recently highlighted in San Francisco. There should be consequences for undermining the enforcement of our immigration laws.”
Wicker is a cosponsor of the legislation, which is authored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La. The bill needed 60 votes to move forward. It was blocked by Senate Democrats by a vote of 54-45.
The proposal would have withheld the following funds from sanctuary jurisdictions: State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, Community Oriented Policing funds, and Community Development Block Grants. It also would have empowered local law enforcement to act as an agent of the Department of Homeland Security when holding a person listed in an immigration detainer. Additionally, the legislation would have increased the maximum prison sentence for illegal reentry from two years to five years.
The following law enforcement groups endorsed the legislation: Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Association of Police Organizations, and National Sheriffs’ Association. Organizations in support of the bill include The Remembrance Project and America First Latinos.
Wicker is also a supporter of a bill titled the “Protecting American Lives Act,” authored by Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., which aims to close gaps in the federal government’s enforcement of immigration law, including ending sanctuary cities in America.