Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday that New Orleans has become a “magnet” for illegal immigrants because of its sanctuary city policing policy, making the city less safe. “Sanctuary policies not only jeopardize the ability to protect our citizens, but they also allow illegals to commit crimes then roam free in our communities,” Landry, a former Republican congressman, told the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
The GOP-led panel was examining “How the Crescent City Became a Sanctuary City.” There are currently more than 300 sanctuary jurisdictions in the United States where law enforcement is not allowed to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws. One of these is New Orleans.
Landry blasted the policies of Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) for prohibiting law enforcement from asking residents about their immigration status. And he asked Committee members why being in the United States illegally was not reason enough to deport an individual back to his native country.
“All that does is lead to those people committing additional crimes and thinking it’s okay to break the law,” Landry argued.
Landry noted as an example the death of St. John the Baptist Parish Fire Chief Spencer Chauvin on Aug. 28 after a bus driven by an illegal immigrant slammed into Chauvin and two other firefighters who were attending to a separate traffic accident. A Honduran immigrant who did not have a driver’s license and had received five previous citations for driving without a license – plus other traffic violations – was charged in the incident.
He cited recent statistics from Los Angeles, another sanctuary city, to establish how crime jumps in these jurisdictions.
“Los Angeles saw all crime rise in 2015: violent crime up 19.9 percent, homicides up 10.2 percent, shooting victims up 12.6 percent, rapes up 8.6 percent, robberies up 12.3 percent, and aggravated assault up 27.5 percent,” Landry said.
According to the Times-Picayune, New Orleans Mayor Landrieu dismissed Landry’s testimony as a political stunt.
“This waste of public time and money by Attorney General Landry to put on a political show in Washington, D.C. is shameful,” Landrieu communications director Tyronne Walker said in a statement. “While Landry was grandstanding this morning, the NOPD was hard at work keeping our streets safe and ensuring our police department advances non-discriminatory policing.”
Landry made his objections to Landrieu’s policing policy a top priority almost immediately upon taking office in January. He had backed a bill in the Legislature to cut off state funding to cities, such as New Orleans, that forbid local law enforcement officers from questioning suspects or witnesses about their immigration status. Gov. John Bel Edwards had opposed the legislation, which died quietly in the state Senate.