Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., echoed President Trump’s words on Wednesday, listing immigration as a defining issue for the looming 2020 election.
On “America’s Newsroom,” Toomey told hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that security is fundamental to his constituents and that Democratic proponents of Sanctuary City policies endanger all Americans. “Prosperity and security, I think, are always the important things,” he said before calling the Democratic stance “madness.”
“I’ve been the tip of the spear in the Senate trying to bring an end to Sanctuary Cities. It’s an outrageous policy in which city governments choose to confer a special legal status on criminals, provided that they came here illegally. And it’s just madness and it endangers all of us.”
Along with other Republicans, like Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Senator John Kennedy, R-La., Toomey re-introduced the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act in May to potentially put an end to Sanctuary Cities. “So, I’ve re-introduced my legislation which would withhold important categories of federal funding for cities that choose to endanger all of us this way,” he said. “And, I’m going to insist on a vote. I’m going to take another run at getting this done.”
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In a press release introducing the bill, Toomey says the Act would “would put an end to dangerous sanctuary city policies that forbid local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, even when they wish to do so.”
The Act also provides a safe harbor for jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials with regard to people who reside in the country illegally who come forward as victims or witnesses to a crime.
He named “egregious” cities like San Francisco and his own Philadelphia as potential targets: “These policies — like the ones in Philadelphia and San Francisco — make it harder to stop illegal immigration and keep dangerous criminals off the streets. Sanctuary cities extend a special protection to illegal immigrants even when federal immigration officials identify them as a threat to public safety. This is simply inexcusable, and I urge my colleagues to help pass this commonsense measure.”
“Philadelphia is one of the most egregious sanctuary cities in America. In my state. And, the fact is by becoming a magnet for dangerous criminals who are here illegally, it jeopardizes all of our safety,” he told Hemmer and Smith.
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Toomey also discussed comments Trump made about the issue during a campaign rally in Iowa on Tuesday.
“This really is the defining issue of 2020 when it comes to immigration,” the president told his supporters. “Democrats no longer represent American citizens… A vote for Democrats is a vote for totally open borders…But, when you look at sanctuary cities and you look at the tremendous problem they want to get rid of ICE.”
Toomey agreed, saying: “I think the president’s exactly right. This is a defining issue because there are elements of the immigration debate where reasonable people can disagree. But, I’m sorry I don’t see how reasonable people can come to the conclusion that we should all be endangered by allowing violent criminals to roam our streets. That’s just crazy!”
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In February 2018, a bipartisan majority of senators voted in support of the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, but it did not receive the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
“We’ve got a president and Republicans who want to do something about it and we’ve got Democrats who want to refuse and have actually refused to do anything meaningful about it,” said Toomey.