WASHINGTON – An immigration bill aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities has broad support among swing state voters, according to a recent poll by Zogby Analytics and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.  

H.R. 3003, or the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, is aimed at enforcing federal standards regarding the deportation of undocumented migrants with criminal histories. The bill would broaden the list of offenses for which an illegal migrant may be detained, and force law enforcement to comply with detention requests.  

The Department of Homeland Security “may issue a detainer if it has probable cause to believe that an individual arrested by a federal, state, or local law enforcement official for an alleged violation of any criminal or motor vehicle law is inadmissible or deportable alien,” the bill reads.

According to the poll, which surveyed voters in 11 swing states, an average of 77.6 percent of the population believed that police and sheriffs should comply with detainer requests by immigration officials. Additionally, an average of 73.4 percent of likely voters believed that sanctuary jurisdictions should be held accountable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants who remained in the community despite a criminal history.

“When it comes to putting criminal aliens back on the streets, voters demand accountability from the local officials who establish sanctuary policies and from federal lawmakers who block sensible legislation that would end these dangerous policies,” Dan Stein, president of FAIR, said in a press release.

The bill is aimed specifically at self-proclaimed “sanctuary jurisdictions” that have refused to comply with federal standards regarding the deportation of undocumented migrants. In such jurisdictions, undocumented migrants cannot not be arrested on immigration status alone and will not be detained for crimes not amounting to a felony.

If passed into law, H.R. 3003 would essentially eliminate the protocols of many sanctuary jurisdictions by forcing them to comply with federal immigration standards. The bill enforces such standards through the introduction of certain punitive measures that could be levied against jurisdictions upon non-compliance.

Such punishments would include the withdraw of federal funding related to law enforcement, terrorism, national security, immigration and naturalization.

The bill comes on the heels of numerous state efforts to thwart sanctuary jurisdictions. Namely, Texas attempted to introduce legislation early this year banning sanctuary cities, but the bill was halted in a federal court. The state is facing lawsuits from all of its major cities regarding SB 4.   

Opponents of the bill cite numerous studies showing that immigrants are in fact less likely to commit crimes than native born Americans. Furthermore, some notable studies have shown that the crime rate in sanctuary cities is no higher than in non-sanctuary jurisdictions.

The bill is expected to face a much taller task in the Senate, where Republican leaders will have to sway eight democrats to vote in its favor. Although no date has been set, Republican leaders hope to vote on the bill by the end of the year.  

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