CAPAC Immigration Leaders Condemn Passage of Anti-Immigrant Bills

Jun 29, 2017 Issues: Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, and H.R. 3004, Kate's Law. These anti-immigrant bills have serious consequences for immigrant communities across the United States, and would both undermine public safety and tear families apart. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Just four years after there was a bipartisan consensus for comprehensive and humane immigration reform that would have helped families and our economy, Republicans are returning to their strategy of fear and punishment. Their first bill, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, effectively declares war on American cities, law enforcement, and immigrant communities by making deporting immigrants more of a priority than protecting communities. Police from cities and towns across the country have come out against this bill because they know that doubling as federal immigration officers actually makes their job as local law enforcement officers more difficult. And the consequences to police and cities of losing these grants are serious. All just to make immigrants feel unwelcome.

“The second bill, Kate’s Law, is even worse. This is politically-driven legislation intended to create a fear of immigrants, even though repeated studies have shown immigrants commit fewer crimes. It goes so far that it criminalizes immigrants trying to rejoin their families or refugees fleeing violence. This is shameful. And it doesn’t even accomplish what it sets out to do. Kate Steinle, whose tragic death inspired this law, would not have been saved had this law been in place as her murderer repeatedly crossed the border despite serving 16 years in prison.

“The sum of these two bills is a strategy of fear. Republicans want to tell Americans to be afraid of immigrants and are making immigrants afraid to leave their homes. That’s why police have come out to say that immigrants are too afraid to report even being a victim of sexual assault, and health clinics report that immigrants are too afraid to come in for exams. This chilling effect on millions of Americans and their families – documented or not – cannot be what our country stands for. I hope we can return to the bipartisan consensus around comprehensive immigration reform that improves the pathways to immigrate legally, keeps families together, and grows our economy.”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), CAPAC Immigration Task Force Chair:

“I am appalled that just one week after World Refugee Day, Republicans are attempting to push through not one, but two bills that run counter to our values. Criminalizing victims of human trafficking, asylum seekers, good Samaritans, and victims of violence under the guise of safety is unacceptable. I reject these fear-mongering bills, and I will continue to fight to welcome the ‘huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,’ even as my Republican colleagues attempt to slam the door in their faces.”

Background

H.R. 3003, which passed by a vote of 228-195, allows the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to withhold crucial law enforcement and terrorism funding from jurisdictions that limit how their police can work with federal immigration agencies. Under H.R. 3003, cities and states  would risk losing federal law enforcement grants, like the Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, if they do not comply with potentially unconstitutional and illegal DHS requests to detain immigrants.

H.R. 3004, which passed by a vote of 257-167, expands criminal sentences for undocumented immigrants who reenter, or attempt to reenter, the United States. It also expands the population of people who would be subject to criminal prosecution for such crimes, including individuals who seek to apply for asylum and surrender themselves at the border, as well as individuals with no criminal history.  

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.