Rep. King Introduces Bill to End Informal Sanctuary Policy on Capitol Hill

By Zachary Leshin | November 10, 2015 | 12:06pm EST
Pro-amnesty demonstrators block an intersection outside the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 12, 2013 to protest congressional inaction on comprehensive immigration reform. (AP photo)

( – U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced legislation last week that would end the current informal sanctuary policy and enable the Capitol Police force to enforce federal immigration law on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

The bill, called the “Ending the Sanctuary Capitol Policy Act of 2015,” would modify existing law and explicitly give the Capitol Police jurisdiction to detain immigration law violators by adding the phrase “within the District of Columbia… with respect to any violation of the immigration laws, if the officer is in the performance of official duties when the authority is exercised.”

“The immigration system in the United States has an enforcement problem. The lawlessness of the Obama Administration has trickled down to at least 340 local so-called ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions that openly defy federal law and release dangerous criminals," King said in a press release.

“This lawlessness has even invaded the Capitol grounds where the laws are written,

“The Capitol Police, a federal law enforcement agency, do not have explicit statutory authority to enforce our immigration laws.

"Without clear authority they are not investigating the immigration status of protesters openly claiming they are here illegally while disrupting Committee proceedings and shutting down Congressional offices,” King continued.

“My bill..., simply empowers a federal law enforcement agency to enforce federal law. The House and Senate cannot call for an end to sanctuary cities while their offices serve as sanctuaries for lawlessness.

"The Rule of Law rests on reliable enforcement everywhere and Congress needs to take the sanctuary plank out of its own eye,” he said.

The bill has seven original co-sponsors including Reps. Brian Babin (R-TX), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jeff Duncan (R-AL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Lamar Smith (R-TX).

But Omar Padilla, 3rd vice chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, criticized the bill in a press release: “Iowa Democrats are proud to stand with immigrant families and fight for comprehensive immigration reform.

“Instead of working toward commonsense solutions for immigrant families, Steve King has once again turned to hate. His desire to silence immigrant voices is a new low for a politician whose intolerance knows no bounds. Iowa Democrats stand in strong opposition to this bill, and King’s offensive views on immigrants.”

The portion of the District of Columbia which is not directly under Federal jurisdiction currently has a sanctuary city policy.

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