Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told PJ Media that cracking down on sanctuary cities to cut back on crime is a “necessary prerequisite” to immigration reform.
Senate Democrats blocked a bill last week that would have cut funding for cities that do not follow federal immigration law by failing to turn over illegal immigrants who commit crimes to federal authorities.
Cornyn, a co-sponsor of the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, was asked why he thinks Democrats opposed the measure.
“It’s pretty hard for me to understand that there would be any reason. They claim that this was a punitive measure and it was a substitute for passing comprehensive immigration reform,” Cornyn said on a conference call.
“But given the abuses and the overreaches of this administration with its executive order on immigration, which has now been enjoined by the federal court in Brownsville, and just given the fact this administration seems to condone outright lawlessness, I think there’s just a lot of concern about doing anything until we can crack down on some of these enforcement measures,” he added.
Cornyn said Senate Democrats are listening to their party’s leadership, which is asking them to “walk a plank.”
“I believe this is a necessary prerequisite to doing anything else on immigration because this was going to be a confidence-building measure, but unfortunately ended up being a no-confidence-building measure because of the partisan obstruction on this issue,” he said.
“This is not a partisan issue. There are communities all across Texas and all across the United States where innocent people have been killed and assaulted and otherwise violated by not just people who are here to work but people who are coming here and actively living a life of criminality and hurting innocent people.”
During the conference call, Cornyn cited the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who was convicted of several crimes and deported numerous times. To date, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has made no changes to the city’s sanctuary city policy, which prohibits the use of city funds to enforce federal immigration law.
Cornyn was asked for his response to critics of the sanctuary city bill who say crime is a universal problem that has to be addressed, not only in the context of illegal immigration.
“An American citizen committing crimes, at least they haven’t committed a crime of illegal entry into the country, and we should, I think, on a bipartisan basis agree that people who come here for no other reason but to commit crimes don’t deserve to stay here and should be among the first to be deported,” he said.
“The president has said that’s his priority list, but the facts seem to belie that when this administration by its overt acts – by omission and commission – has caused the release of thousands of people who have committed multiple criminal acts into our communities.”