WASHINGTON – – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, voted against the motion to proceed to S.2146, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act. The vote failed, 54-45. His statement below:
“Everything I do, I know I can do better. The same is true of the Department of Homeland Security. Until recently, the Department was using a well-intentioned but flawed program to track undocumented immigrants who had been arrested for crimes, in order to process them for possible deportation. It was a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that ignored concerns raised by many state and local officials, often including local law enforcement. As a result, many cities opted out of the program and then were criticized for failing to help detain and deport undocumented immigrants who commit crimes. The legislation before us doesn’t address these real conflicts. Instead, it would take us backwards, and seek to punish communities that don’t go along with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that doesn’t suit them or those they serve.
“As a former governor, I understand that many times, state and local officials know how to manage their communities and law enforcement better than those of us in Washington. I also understand that, on many occasions, we can better serve our constituents when all levels of government – local, state, and federal – work together to find solutions that give necessary authorities and resources without being overly burdensome or counterproductive. Fortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has heard the concerns of our state and local officials and has taken steps to implement a smarter, more effective approach that works with local jurisdictions to better focus resources on individuals who are enforcement priorities, such as public safety and national security threats. Congress should give this program a chance to work rather than imposing a coercive approach that has already proven unworkable.”
Many advocacy and law enforcement groups have voiced opposition to the bill, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, and League of United Latin American Citizens.