Lawmaker’s Measure Targets Funding for Sanctuary Cities

Rachel del Guidice /

An Arizona lawmaker wants to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities by amending a spending bill keeping the government running through September.

The amendment proposed by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., would withhold two kinds of federal grants to cities and other jurisdictions that don’t cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing immigration law, The Hill reported.

“In other words, if you’re a sanctuary city, and you do not transfer information as required under Title VIII of the U.S. code, then you’re going to lose that grant funding,” Biggs told the news organization.

NOW: I'm testifying in @RulesReps about my two amendments to the #Omnibus: first would reduce Special Counsel Robert Mueller's salary to zero; second would prohibit funding to sanctuary cities. I would like these amendments to see an up-or-down vote. #AZ05

— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) March 22, 2018

The House Rules Committee, however, rejected the Biggs amendment after convening late Wednesday night.

“Mine was a very commonsense amendment getting at part of the problem here, which is that we have local jurisdictions that are not subject to the law … so we need to make sure that they are not getting funding,” Biggs told The Daily Signal in a phone interview Thursday morning.

In a meeting that stretched into Thursday morning, the committee ruled his amendment out of order, he said, ending the matter for now.

“The American people won’t get a chance to see where their representatives stand on this issue, and that is really a crying shame,” Biggs said.

Title VIII requires that states and other jurisdictions “may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

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“Democrats’ priority is to protect criminals, not to do what is right for our country,” President Donald Trump said Tuesday at a law enforcement roundtable at the White House, referring to dangers posed by sanctuary cities.

The Justice Department announced March 6 that it is suing California over the state’s sanctuary policies that don’t comply with the authority of federal immigration authorities.

House votes on the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill were expected Thursday since government funding runs out Friday at midnight.

The package includes $3 billion more to counter the opioid drug crisis, $10 billion more for infrastructure, and $1.57 billion more for border security, but fails to address major conservative priorities such as defunding Planned Parenthood and beginning construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

This report was updated to reflect the Rules Committee’s action.