No Sanctuary: Cities, States Could Face Lawsuits from Crime Victims

The Trump administration's crackdown on sanctuary policies could get a boost with legislation now pending in Congress. The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act was introduced months ago in the House by Congressman Ted Budd (R-NC) and in the Senate by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). "Victims of crime in these sanctuary cities and states---crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants---those victims should be able to sue the jurisdiction, whether it's a city or a state, for damages," says Jenny Beth Martin, chair of Tea Party Patriots Action.

The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act is has received renewed attention in the past month, after President Trump promoted it during his State of the Union Address, and since a federal appeals court recently ruled the Trump administration has the right to withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions. That ruling conflicts with prior appeals court decisions that ordered the administration to continue the funding, which means the issue will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Martin wants that court ruling to serve as a springboard for legislation to allow illegal alien crime victims to sue sanctuary jurisdictions, although she admits to KTRH getting such legislation through Congress is unlikely unless Republicans can take back control of the House this fall. She believes making these jurisdictions liable for illegal alien crime would put new pressure on them to change those policies. "They would be getting pressure not just from Washington D.C. and the administration, but also from their own constituents," says Martin. "So it winds up being a check and balance from both the top and the bottom."

In the meantime, Martin and other advocates hope to see the courts continue to side with the Trump administration, believing they are on solid legal ground. "The Constitution states that the federal government is the one who has say over our immigration laws, and cities and states have to work with the federal government as appropriate when it comes to immigration," she says.

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