Robert Miller Pittenger is an American politician and businessman who has been the U.S. Representative for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district since 2013 and he may have very well made himself a hero to many Americans if his most recent proposal is successful. In response to the increased popularity of sanctuary cities in California in particular, Rep. Pittenger has proposed legislation he has entitled “Make Sanctuary Cities Pay for the Wall Act” or H.R. 5663.
Rep. Pittenger made the announcement for the proposal in a press release on Monday –
“With well over 300 sanctuary cities across the country, it is past time for Congress to take decisive action. Sanctuary cities blatantly subvert the rule of law, incentivize further illegal immigration and endanger law-abiding citizens. All the while, criminals, and drugs flow across our porous southern border, bringing violence and crime into our towns and communities. This poses a critical threat to public safety and America’s national security as we know that Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations are actively operating in Latin America. Enough is enough.
By simultaneously defunding sanctuary cities and funding construction of a border wall, this legislation offers a comprehensive solution to one of our nation’s most pressing and persistent problems.”
The “Make Sanctuary Cities Pay for the Wall Act” (H.R. 5663) withholds certain federal funds and grants from jurisdictions that forbid their law enforcement officials from sharing information with federal immigration officials or complying with an immigration detainer. The legislation redirects the withheld funds to pay for construction of a border wall along America’s southern border.
Both the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA have endorsed Pittenger’s bill.
The Department of Justice has targeted many sanctuary cities warning them of plans to withhold funds and discontinue funding to certain programs until local officials begin cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. and grant them access to illegals in jails.
A sanctuary city by definition refers to municipal jurisdictions that limit their cooperation with the national government’s effort to enforce immigration law. Leaders of sanctuary cities claim their reasoning for implementing these policies is to reduce the fears of deportation and possible family break-up among people who are in the country illegally so that such people will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school. Municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by national immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date if they were jailed for breaking local law.
Such policies can be set expressly in law or observed in practice but the designation “sanctuary city” does not have a precise legal definition. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which advocates restrictive immigration policies, estimates that about 300 U.S. jurisdictions, including cities, counties, and states, have adopted sanctuary policies.
CIS also believes that the border wall will pay for itself in the savings realized by stopping the significant cost of resources diverted to pay for illegal aliens flooding the border now along with the costs to apprehend, cloth, house, feed, deport, not including any legal proceedings attached.
According to a report published by CIS in February it states – “The findings of the report indicate that if a border wall stopped a small fraction of the illegal immigrants who are expected to come in the next decade, the fiscal savings from having fewer illegal immigrants in the country would be sufficient to cover the costs of the wall. This analysis takes the likely education level of illegal border-crossers and applies fiscal estimates developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) for immigrants by education level.
Based on the NAS data, illegal border-crossers create an average net fiscal burden (taxes paid minus services used) of approximately $74,722 during their lifetimes — excluding costs for their U.S.-born children. If a wall costing $12 to $15 billion stopped or deterred between 160,000 and 200,000 illegal crossers — only about 9 to 12 percent of those expected to successfully cross in the next decade — it would pay for itself.”
H.R. 5663 proposes to also withhold any and all federal monies from any jurisdictions that forbid local law enforcement from complying with immigration detainers or sharing documentation information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rep. Pittenger states it is his belief it is past “time for Congress to take decisive action” on the estimated 300 sanctuary cities across the country that “blatantly subvert the rule of law, incentivize further illegal immigration and endanger law-abiding citizens.”
H.R. 5663 has already been referred to four different committees. This proposal follows directly on the heels of a caravan of roughly 200 Central American migrants arrived at the border seeking asylum. President Donald Trump has denounced the caravan, pointing to it as a justification for increased security and a border wall. President Trump has also stated his belief that our current porous border situation is adding to the opioid crisis creating addition issues and stresses on law enforcement.