Vote Explanation for H.R. 3003 — No Sanctuary for Criminals Act

I voted against H.R. 3003, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, which, despite its name, would actually prove counterproductive to securing our communities. I opposed this bill after consultation with law enforcement authorities and local officials in the 6th District who have all raised concerns about the negative impacts bills like this would have on public safety.

If passed, this bill would; 1) Require state and local law enforcement agencies implement and enforce federal immigration policy even if outside their normal jurisdiction or purview, 2) Expand the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to issue detainers in violation of the Fourth Amendment, 3) Withhold certain critical federal funds from jurisdictions that do not to comply with such directives, and 4) Expressly authorize indefinite detention for persons in immigration proceedings.

Taken together, these provisions undermine our state and local law enforcement’s ability to keep our communities safe and devote their resources to preventing crimes, as well as violate the anti-commandeering principle enshrined in the Tenth Amendment of our Constitution. This principle, which was recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, prohibits the federal government from commandeering state governments and from imposing targeted, affirmative coercive duties upon state legislators or executive officials.

Numerous local political and law enforcement officials have opposed such policies — including police chiefs and mayors throughout the 6th District. All have emphasized that the time and resources of our police officers are best spent enforcing state and local laws and allowing federal authorities (in this case the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to enforce federal laws like immigration policy. Beyond Massachusetts, the national Fraternal Order of Police stated on June 27th that making federal assistance contingent on state and local agencies prioritizing federal immigration enforcement over state and local laws “hurts public safety efforts.”

Furthermore, if passed, the consequences of this bill would erode public trust between the community and local law enforcement in reporting crimes, providing witness statements, and in disseminating crime prevention information.