Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey urged President-elect Donald Trump to take immediate action against Philadelphia and other sanctuary cities for not cooperating with federal immigration authorities.
“I hope that our president will take the executive order steps that he can to at least diminish this problem,” Toomey said Wednesday from the Senate floor.
Toomey rattled off the names of three Philadelphia criminals in recent years who allegedly entered the country illegally. He said the city refused to alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents about the individuals once they were released.
“How can this possibly happen?” Toomey said. “That a city would knowingly, willfully and repeatedly choose to release dangerous criminals, including child molesters, who don’t even have a right to be in the United States in the first place because they came here illegally.”
Toomey is hoping that the Republican majority in Congress passes his bill, which will deprive sanctuary cities of federal community development block grants. Philadelphia used nearly $39 million in block grants this year.
More than 30 other Pennsylvania counties have policies, whether formal or unwritten, that do not comply with federal immigration detainers. Records show that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expected this year to provide the state with more than $169 million in community development block grants. The money supports things like communities hardest hit with foreclosures and low-income areas reeling from natural disasters.
But if Toomey’s bill succeeds, the federal assistance could be in jeopardy.
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