Colorado Freshman Rep., Dave Williams, introducing bill to outlaw sanctuary cities
January 29, 2017
Colorado Freshman Rep., Dave Williams, introducing bill to outlaw sanctuary cities
By Marjorie Haun
On Monday, January 30, freshman Colorado Representative Dave Williams (R) of House District 15, will be introducing legislation to outlaw so-called sanctuary cities in the state. Williams’ bill goes farther than simply making official ‘sanctuary’ status illegal, to establish a right of action for crime victims against public officials who enact policies which put Colorado citizens at risk through giving unconstitutional protections to illegal and/or criminal aliens.
In addition to the sponsors listed on the bill, others have been added and will show up on the updated version of the bill. Those co-sponsors include Senator John Cooke, Senator Kevin Lundberg, Senate President pro tempore Jerry Sonnenberg, and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert. Others may yet be added.
This bold move by Representative Williams comes on the heels of President Trump’s swift and unequivocal actions against sanctuary cities across the country. The executive order issued by President Trump on Monday states, “These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic,” and there is ample evidence supporting his claim.
Colorado immigration hawk, Tom Tancredo, recently wrote about the purely fiscal costs incurred by ‘sanctuary’ cities. In his Breitbart article from January 28, Tancredo stated:
In my home state of Colorado, the 2016 SCAAP report by the state Department of Corrections revealed that state prison system was holding 2,039 criminal aliens at a cost of $37,958 per inmate. That is a total cost of $77,396,362. The federal reimbursement grant was $2,077, 720. That is a grant of 2.7 cents for every dollar of actual cost. Those 2,039 criminal alien inmates were 14% of all state prison inmates: One in every seven felons in the state prison system is a criminal alien.
What are the comparable numbers for your state? You can discover the SCAAP grant amounts for each state prison system and the local county jails applying for federal reimbursement at this website.
The federal SCAAP grant program was established by Congress as an acknowledgment of federal responsibility for a failed border security and failed federal enforcement of immigration laws. But the appropriated amount for reimbursing local communities their incarceration costs through SCAAP grants has NEVER been adequate for full cost reimbursement. In 2016, the federal reimbursement program was given a paltry $189 million.
Williams’ ban on sanctuary cities will be formally introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives on Monday, when it will be assigned a bill number and then assigned to a House committee. The summary of the bill–which is quite lengthy–reads:
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted. If this bill passes third reading in the house of introduction, a bill summary that applies to the reengrossed version of this bill will be available at http://leg.colorado.gov/.)
The bill is known as the “Colorado Politician Accountability Act”.
The bill includes a legislative declaration that states that addressing sanctuary jurisdictions is a matter of statewide concern and that makes findings about how sanctuary policies are contrary to federal law and state interests.
The bill creates a civil remedy against the state or a political subdivision of the state (jurisdiction) and against its elected officials for creating sanctuary policies. The bill also creates a crime of rendering assistance to an illegal alien that can be brought against an elected official for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction.
An elected official is responsible for the creation of a sanctuary jurisdiction if the elected official votes in favor of imposing or creating a law, ordinance, or policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction, fails to take steps to try to change a law, ordinance, or policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction, or is a county sheriff who imposes or enforces a policy that allows the jurisdiction to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction in a county in which the elected officials have not voted to impose or create a sanctuary jurisdiction.
The bill allows any person who claims that he or she is a victim of any crime committed by an illegal alien who established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction to file a civil action for compensatory damages against a jurisdiction and against the elected officials of the jurisdiction who were responsible for creating the policy to operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction. Notwithstanding the protections of the “Colorado Governmental Immunity Act”, the jurisdiction and its officials who are responsible for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction are civilly liable for damages if the person who engaged in the criminal activity:
! Is determined to be an illegal alien;
! Had established residency in the sanctuary jurisdiction; and
! Is convicted of the crime that is a proximate cause of the injury to a person or property.
The maximum amount of compensatory damages for injury to persons is $700,000 per person or $1,980,000 for injury to 2 or more persons; except that no person may recover in excess of $700,000. The maximum amount of compensatory damages for injury to property is set at $350,000 per person or $990,000 for injury to multiple persons; except that no person may recover in excess of $350,000.
The bill defines a “sanctuary jurisdiction” as a jurisdiction that adopts a law, ordinance, or policy on or after the effective date of this bill that prohibits or in any way restricts an official or employee of the jurisdiction from:
! Cooperating and complying with federal immigration officials or enforcing federal immigration law;
! Sending to or receiving from or requesting from federal immigration officials information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an individual;
! Maintaining or exchanging information about an individual’s immigration status, lawful or unlawful, with other federal agencies, state agencies, or municipalities;
! Inquiring about an individual’s name, date and place of birth, and immigration status while enforcing or conducting an official investigation into a violation of any law of this state;
! Continuing to detain an individual, regardless of the individual’s ability to be released on bail, who has been identified as an illegal alien while in custody for violating any state law; or
! Verifying the lawful presence and eligibility of a person applying for a state or local public benefit as required by state and federal law.
The bill sets forth the requirements for determining when an illegal alien has established residency in a sanctuary jurisdiction. An “illegal alien” is defined as a person who is not lawfully present within the United States, as determined by federal immigration law.
The governing body of any jurisdiction is prohibited from adopting a law, ordinance, rule, policy, or plan or taking any action that limits or prohibits an elected official, employee, or law enforcement officer from communicating or cooperating with an appropriate public official, employee, or law enforcement officer of the federal government concerning the immigration status of an individual residing in the state. The governing body of a jurisdiction is required to provide written notice to each elected official, employee, and law enforcement officer of the jurisdiction of his or her duty to communicate and cooperate with the federal government concerning enforcement of any federal or state immigration law. The governing body of any jurisdiction in this state is required to annually submit a written report to the department of public safety (department) that the jurisdiction is in compliance with the cooperation and communication requirements. If the department does not receive those written reports, the department is required to provide the name of that jurisdiction to the state controller.
A law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction who has reasonable cause to believe that an individual under arrest is not lawfully present in the United States shall immediately report the individual to the appropriate U.S. immigration and customs enforcement office (ICE) within the department of homeland security. The governing body of any jurisdiction is required to report annually to the department on the number of individuals who were reported to ICE by law enforcement officers from that jurisdiction. The department is directed to compile and submit annual reports on compliance to the general assembly and to the state controller. The state controller is required to withhold the payment of any state funds to any jurisdiction that is found by the department to have failed to comply with these reporting requirements. The state controller shall withhold funds until the department notifies the state controller that the jurisdiction is in compliance.
The bill creates the crime of rendering assistance to an illegal alien through a sanctuary jurisdiction, which is a class 4 felony. A person who is an elected official of a jurisdiction commits rendering assistance to an illegal alien through a sanctuary jurisdiction if, with intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the discovery, detection, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of illegal aliens within the jurisdiction:
! He or she was responsible for creating a sanctuary jurisdiction in the jurisdiction to which the official is elected; and
! When, as a result of the protection afforded by a sanctuary jurisdiction, a third person engages in criminal activity and the third person:
! Is an illegal alien as legally defined by federal immigration law;
! Had established residency in the sanctuary jurisdiction that was created by the official; and
! Has been convicted of a crime that caused injury to a person or to property.
A person who has knowledge of a crime committed by an illegal alien as a result of the creation of a sanctuary jurisdiction may file an affidavit with the attorney general or with a district attorney outlining the crime and requesting that charges be brought or that a grand jury be impaneled. The attorney general or district attorney shall investigate and respond in writing with his or her decision to the person filing the affidavit within 49 days. If the attorney general or district attorney declines to bring charges or impanel a grand jury, the person may file a second affidavit directly with the applicable court.
The bill includes a severability clause and a provision that states that the bill is not subject to judicial review.
The bill takes effect upon passage and applies to acts or omissions occurring on or after said date.
This bill is a daring move on the part of the freshman Representative Williams, however, the chances of it making through Colorado’s Democrat-controlled State House are slim. Nonetheless, it reflects the sentiment so strongly, if unartfully, voiced by President Trump, that government at all levels must address public safety and national security threats where they often begin; at the America’s entry ways.
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