As GOP targets ‘sanctuary cities,’ Hillary calls for broader path to U.S. citizenship

As GOP targets ‘sanctuary cities,’ Hillary calls for broader path to U.S. citizenship

In the face of growing anger over “sanctuary cities,” Hillary Clinton further blurred the line between legal and illegal immigration Thursday, calling for a wider path to U.S. citizenship.

Speaking at a heavily Hispanic rally in downtown San Antonio, the Democratic presidential candidate drew cheers for supporting broader legalization, including citizenship for border-breaching parents of children born in this country.

“Immigration boosts wages and grows the economy by hundreds of billions of dollars. We’re a far less interesting country without it,” Clinton asserted.

Texans, meanwhile, want to ban so-called sanctuary cities that grant safe haven to illegal immigrants.

A new survey of likely GOP voters found that no issue polled higher, with 77% rating it “very important” to them.

Some 63% of the general electorate ranked the issue as very important.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson last month criticized San Francisco’s sanctuary policies as “counterproductive” and “unacceptable.”

Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, charged in the fatal shooting of 32-year-old Kate Steinle last summer, had previously been deported five times to his native Mexico. He was out on the streets after San Francisco officials rebuffed a request from immigration authorities to keep him behind bars.

While Clinton skirted the sanctuary issue, Congress is moving against the 340-plus U.S. jurisdictions that shield and release illegal immigrants — many with long criminal records.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement blames local sanctuary policies for freeing thousands of deportable individuals. A recent ICE sweep in Southern California captured 244 immigrants who had entered the country illegally and have been convicted of at least one felony.

“This involved costs to the federal taxpayer and inherent safety risks — both of which could be avoided if state and local jurisdictions simply agreed to hold these dangerous criminal aliens until ICE can take them into custody,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., stated in a letter Thursday.

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and David Vitter, R-La., are co-sponsoring legislation to:

  • Prohibit sanctuary jurisdictions from receiving federal funds under the Community Development Block Grant Program and the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.
  • Protect local jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies from lawsuits for enforcing the law and complying with federal immigration law enforcement requests.
  • Increase criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who have illegally re-entered the United States after deportation and for those who committed aggravated felonies.

The measure has been endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Federation for American Immigration Reform, and NumbersUSA.

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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