Sen. Luther Strange looking to strip sanctuary city funding to pay for border wall

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Building the wall is still a top priority for Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) who is looking to penalize cities that fail to comply with the administration’s immigration agenda. Strange says sanctuary cities need to cooperate for the good of the country.

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) says sanctuary jurisdictions need to start obeying federal law.

“It all boils down ultimately to public safety,” said Strange.

His legislation says if so-called sanctuary jurisdictions fail to comply with the administration’s immigration enforcement, they will be stripped of essential funding.

“We say if you’re not going to allow that then we’ll reallocate that money to another jurisdiction along the border so the wall can be built,” said Strange.

If his legislation passes, sanctuary cities could be stripped of Federal infrastructure or transportation funds that would go toward building the wall elsewhere. He says getting in the way of building the wall is a danger to all Americans.

“We want to encourage all the communities around the country along the border where they can participate to cooperate with the federal government,” said Strange.

His legislation also mentions withholding funds from cities that are blacklisting companies bidding that want to work on the wall. Avideh Moussavian from the National Immigration Law Center says punishing these communities isn’t legal.

“The idea that the federal government is trying to bully localities into violating the constitutional rights of individuals should be very troubling and would be very troubling to most Americans if that’s how they understood the issue,” said Moussavian.

She says these sanctuary cities are not obstructing the work of the federal government simply because they refuse to participate in building the wall or carrying out the duties of federal immigration officers. She says these communities are protecting the rights of immigrants in this country.

“We may not be able to get them to change every policy, but I think we have a core function of basically collectively bearing witness to what this administration is doing and holding them accountable over time,” said Moussavian.

Strange’s legislation is currently sitting in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.