WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) released the following statement after voting to proceed with Senate consideration of the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, legislation that would withhold certain federal funding from jurisdictions known as “sanctuary cities” that defy Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detainer requests or withhold information in violation of federal law.

“Law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels should have the opportunity and ability to work together to ensure that potentially dangerous criminals who have entered our country illegally are not set free. This commonsense legislation is an opportunity to discourage shortsighted and dangerous policies that often unfortunately end up protecting such criminals instead of our law-abiding U.S. citizens. Today’s vote was simply about keeping our communities safe by ensuring that DHS can coordinate with state and local law enforcement officials to assume custody of illegal immigrants who commit crimes before they are released back into the community.

“Ultimately, the safety and well-being of our citizens must be the chief priority of law enforcement officials at every level of government. While protecting individuals’ civil liberties, this bill removes the legal liability concerns that may have previously dissuaded state and local cooperation with DHS, thereby clearing the way for a collaborative effort to keep our communities safe.

“I’m disappointed by today’s outcome. Congress must continue to discuss the impact of sanctuary cities on our ability to effectively enforce immigration laws and prevent needless crime.”

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