Victims' Rights Caucus


Sanctuary Hideouts

Jul 26 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the early morning hours of May 14, 2005, two Denver police officers were working security at a restaurant when Raul Garcia Gomez cowardly shot them both in the back and fled into the darkness of the night. Detective Donald Young was killed. Detective John Bishop was also shot in the back, but he survived. Gomez snuck out of Denver and the United States and sought safety in his country of Mexico to prevent being prosecuted for first degree murder and attempted murder.

Without dealing with the issue of Mexico's reluctance to extradite their citizens who have committed murder in the United States, Gomez had already been given a get-out-of-jail-free card in Denver because of absurd policies called ``sanctuary laws.'' In Denver, Gomez had been stopped previously three times by local police for traffic offenses. Each time he presented a Mexican driver's license. Each time he had no proof of insurance, and each time he was released even though he was here illegally.

Had he been an American citizen, the fact that he had no insurance for the third time would have resulted in him being arrested and hauled off to jail. We seem to discriminate against American citizens for the benefit of illegal aliens. Anyway, the reason Gomez was released instead of deported: sanctuary laws.

They are laws that stop police from arresting and detaining illegals that are here in the United States. Therefore, law enforcement officials cannot do anything to a person they discover is illegally here in the country other than let them loose back in society.

In fact, some cities prohibit police from even inquiring into a person's legal status in the United States. So-called sanctuary laws prohibit officers from ``initiating police action where the objective is to discover the alien status of the person.''

It would seem to me, and common sense would dictate, that police should know who is in the United States illegally. Have these cities not heard of the war on terror?

This order was created in Los Angeles and has been adopted in the major cities in the United States. In these cities, if an illegal immigrant is caught for a minor violation, police cannot detain this individual for immigration violations despite the fact these people are committing a Federal offense by their presence in our country. This hands-off policy is absurd and these cities protect people who are illegally in the United States.

Unfortunately, because of lack of enforcement of immigration laws, these sanctuaries and safe havens in the United States are growing. Some U.S. cities have actually implemented policies that provide and require these safe havens for illegal people.

Mr. Speaker, in these selected hideouts, immigration laws are not enforced. These cities do not require and even some prohibit employers from reporting the illegal status to Federal officials. Creating these secret hideouts encourages illegal immigration, and Americans pay the price. Americans always pay.

Officials in Houston, Texas, recently have implemented policies restricting coordination with local police and Federal authorities regarding immigration laws. And even recently the Governor of Maine has announced an executive order forbids the State from enforcing Federal immigration laws.

Mr. Speaker, this is a serious problem and the cities that have adopted these sanctuary hideouts undermine the security of this Nation, encourage illegal immigration and promote lawlessness. All of this at the expense of Americans.

However, some cities faced with the cost of free social services to illegals have a different approach. The latest is Police Chief Garrett Chamberlain of New Ipswich, New Hampshire. He is charging illegals with criminal trespassing and arresting them. After all, they are trespassing on American soil. Part of the problem is there are too few Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents within the interior of t