June 26, 2017
I write to register the strong opposition of the nation’s mayors to H.R. 3003, a partisan bill that seeks to punish so-called “sanctuary cities,” which is expected to be considered by the full House this week.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors represents well over a thousand mayors and nearly 150 million people. Today, we concluded the 85th Annual Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors and adopted policy that reinforces and builds on previous positions we have taken which oppose provisions in this bill. Specifically, the nation’s mayors:
- urge members of Congress to withdraw legislation that attempts to cut local law enforcement funding necessary to ensure the safety of our communities, indemnify conduct that violates the constitutional rights afforded to both United States citizens and immigrant populations, and further criminalizes immigration and infringes on the rights of immigrant;
- oppose punitive policies that limit local control and discretion, and urge instead that Congress and the Administration pursue immigration enforcement policies that recognize that local law enforcement has limited resources and community trust is critical to local law enforcement and the safety of our communities;
- oppose federal policies that commandeer local law enforcement or require local authorities to violate, or be placed at risk of violating a person’s Fourth Amendment rights; expend limited resources to act as immigration agents; or otherwise assist federal immigration authorities beyond what is determined by local policy.
HR 3003 would do all of these things and more:
- It would jeopardize public safety by withholding critical public safety funding from jurisdictions that tell their police officers not to ask an individual their immigration status. Many departments have such policies to encourage crime victims and witnesses to report crimes and to build trust with immigrant communities.
- It would put jurisdictions at risk of violating an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights by establishing probable cause standards for ICE’s issuance of detainers that do not require a judicial determination of probable cause. Numerous federal courts have found that continued detention under an ICE detainer, absent probable cause, would state a claim for a violation of the Fourth Amendment and subject the detaining officer or jurisdiction to civil liability.
- While it says it would provide immunity to jurisdictions which comply with detainers and hold them harmless in any suits filed against them, they would still be subject to Fourth Amendment challenges.
• Further compelling and expanding compliance with certain enforcement provisions, such as immigration detainers, and cutting off federal funding to jurisdictions which do not comply with these provisions likely conflict with the Tenth Amendment.
H.R. 3003 is a bad bill for our cities and their residents and for our nation. It would jeopardize public safety, preempt local authority, and expose local governments to litigation and potential findings of damages. America’s mayors call on you to do the right thing and vote against H.R. 3003 when it is considered on the floor.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges you instead to focus on positive legislation that will fix our broken immigration system and make our cities safer. The nation’s mayors pledge to work with you on bipartisan immigration reform legislation that will fix our nation’s broken immigration system. We need to move beyond punitive bills like H.R. 3003 and develop an immigration system that works for our nation, our cities and our people.
To make our cities safer we urge you to consider legislation that will help us to fight crime and prevent terrorism. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Association agree that to make the streets of America safe, Congress must act to strengthen bonds between communities and police, expand homeland security grants, invest in mental health and substance abuse services, reduce gun violence, and reform the criminal justice system and strengthen reentry services.
Mitchell J. Landrieu
Mayor of New Orleans