ACLU Comment on US Senate Vote on ‘Sanctuary’ Policies Bill

October 20, 2015 1:45 pm

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WASHINGTON – A U.S. Senate bill seeking to defund over 350 localities that have adopted community trust policies and refused to execute unconstitutional immigration detainers has failed to advance to a full Senate vote. The “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S.2146) was blocked by a 54-45 cloture vote. The American Civil Liberties Union is a leader in a broad coalition of law enforcement, municipal, community development, housing, victim services, religious, and immigrants’ rights organizations that opposed the bill.

The bill aimed to deny federal law enforcement funding and community development assistance to hundreds of localities that have implemented community trust policies designed to promote public safety and to combat crime. These localities have declined to execute controversial detainer requests that have caused wrongful detentions of U.S. citizens and immigrants, in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights. The bill also sought new mandatory minimums that would have cost taxpayers more than $3.7 billion over the next decade and are inconsistent with bipartisan commitment to reducing the federal prison population.

Joanne Lin, ACLU legislative counsel, said:

“The Senate was right to block this bill, which was fraught with constitutional and policy problems. It would have perpetuated unconstitutional immigration detainer practices and expanded costly mandatory minimums.”

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