Garamendi Opposed Bill That Would Punish Sanctuary Cities

No-human-is-illegalOfficials in Davis are watching closely as a bill that would potentially ban federal funding to “Sanctuary Cities” passed the House Thursday, largely along party lines by a vote of 241-179. However, the Obama administration opposes the bill, arguing that the federal government should not attempt to compel local law enforcement to act as de facto immigration agents.

John Garamendi, who represents Davis and much of Yolo County in the House, issued a statement following the vote: “The recent tragedy in San Francisco underscores the need for local law enforcement and immigration enforcement to work together to make sure dangerous criminals don’t fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, this bill is not a solution. This bill would defund local law enforcement and risks damaging existing relationships between law enforcement and the immigrant communities they serve.”

He added, “The Fraternal Order of Police, the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, the US Conference of Mayors, the US National League of Cities, the Law Enforcement Immigration Task Force, and 390 nationwide religious leaders have all expressed severe concerns about the mechanisms of this bill. This bill would undermine public safety rather than strengthen it, and I voted no.”

According to the summary, the bill written by Republican Duncan Hunter from Southern California would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to make a state or local subdivision ineligible for “state criminal alien assistance program funding if it: (1) has in effect any law, policy, or procedure prohibiting or restricting communication with the Immigration and Naturalization Service or other government entity regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status; or (2) prohibits state or local law enforcement officials from gathering information regarding an individual’s citizenship or immigration status.”

The bill would also withhold specified Department of Justice funds, under parts Q and E of Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, from such states or local subdivisions.

As the ACLU noted in a release, “It’s not every day that the Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, Conference on Mayors, and National League of Cities line up with the ACLU on the same side of legislation.”

But that is the case here, as civil liberties groups and immigrations activists have joined with law enforcement, religious organizations, cities, and mayors to oppose this bill.

The punitive measure “seeks to punish cities that have tried to improve public safety by taking commonsense measures to build community trust and ensure that crime victims cooperate with the police.” One of the big concerns – and the reason that the Davis Police Department supported sanctuary city staff in Davis is that they wanted victims and witnesses who happened to be undocumented to be free to come forward to report crimes without fear of deportation.

While cutting federal funding – $40 million from California – seems a simple solution, the ACLU notes, “While offered as a direct response to the shooting of Ms. Steinle in early July, the bill proposes nothing that would have changed the situation leading up to her tragic death.  In other words, had the legislation been the law of the land in 2015, it would not have made a difference in the case of Ms. Steinle.”

The ACLU argues, “Far from being shields for criminality, these cities recognize that immigrant victims and witnesses will not report crime, and crimes will therefore go unsolved and unpunished if immigrants fear that local police are acting as immigration agents.”

The LA Times in a recent editorial argued, “Rather than threatening local governments and withholding grants, Congress should instead get serious about the root problem: the dysfunctional immigration system. The federal government needs to work cooperatively with local police agencies to make sure that dangerous criminals living here illegally are deported in a timely manner — while Congress and the president also work to pass fair, comprehensive immigration reform.”

The Times noted that, in Los Angeles, the Police Department’s Special Order 40 directs that “officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person.”

The Times points out, “That does not prevent officers from turning over those arrested for other offenses to immigration authorities. It protects no one from federal immigration enforcement. It simply makes someone’s immigration status irrelevant to the local investigation at hand, and leaves immigration enforcement with the federal government, where it belongs.”

As explained by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:   “We all suffer when an immigrant is afraid to tell the police that she has been the victim of a sexual assault or domestic violence … our police officers cannot stop a criminal when they are not aware of his crimes … which leaves him free to do it again … to anyone he chooses. Which means that all of us lose.”

The ACLU along with 143 other groups wrote a letter arguing against this legislation. “Public policy should not be made based on a single tragic event or by using the actions of one individual to justify a policy that criminalizes an entire community,” the letter says. “We urge the House to refrain from imposing knee-jerk immigration policy changes based on the alleged actions of one person.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts


  1. Tia Will

    “Public policy should not be made based on a single tragic event or by using the actions of one individual to justify a policy that criminalizes an entire community,”

    This is a page right out of the Donald Trump book of how to generalize from the specific to the whole for publicity grabbing headlines. It makes for engaging  press and accolades from hardliners who do not choose to look past the sound bites. Unfortunately it is a side show distraction which does nothing to make anyone any safer.

      1. Tia Will


        One thing is for sure. San Francisco wasn’t a sanctuary city for Kathryn Steinle. “

        Just as Lafayette was not a sanctuary for the two women murdered by Rusty Houser. So should we be locking up every individual who posts misogynistic comments, or racist comments or makes antigovernment threats online ? These murders are committed by  single individuals, not a community. They should be held responsible as individuals, not as a member of the group to which they happen to belong.


    1. Barack Palin

      This is a page right out of the Donald Trump book of how to generalize from the specific to the whole for publicity grabbing headlines.

      LOL, like Democrats never do that too?

      One that comes to mind is the little old lady who doesn’t have an I.D. in order to vote.

        1. Barack Palin

          About as much relevance to the current topic as Donald Trump has.  Trump must be doing good because from reading posts on the Vanguard recently all you liberals drag his name into many different topics and try to demean him.

      1. Frankly

        Yes, and Republicans pushing old people off the cliff instead of protecting their medicare.

        And Romney strapping his poor dog to the roof of his car.

        And Gabby Giffords’ shooter being one of those angry Tea Party people.

        The left actually believe that they walk on such rarefied and righteous air and so their own antics don’t even register.

        Straight from a leading liberal Democrat…

          You never let a serious crisis go to waste.

        1. Alan Miller

          In the range from the stupid to the marginally-informed — on both sides of the political spectrum — who together constitute the party majorities, these tactics work just peachy, that’s why they keep throwing this s**t out there:  it wins elections.  Pathetic, but true.

        2. Frankly

          It is because we have that range of stupid to the marginally-informed that the media deserves another look.

          I have good friends that are good hard working people with what I would consider above average understanding of the work around them, and then they tell me what they think and it is just the damn main media BS.  And after I explain it to them then can’t believe that they were 169 degrees separated from the truth and the facts.

          There is a really good read called This Town by Mark Leibovich.

          He paints a picture of Washington and the main media being one in the same… and hard tilted toward the Democrats.

          I know it is being nice to blame both parties, but one is much more culpable than the other.

    2. Frankly

      ““Public policy should not be made based on a single tragic event or by using the actions of one individual to justify a policy that criminalizes an entire community,

      This is just more of the same hyperbole BS that comes from the other political side to exploit every tragedy to push more gun ownership restrictions.

      Here is the problem.

      It is legal to own guns with proper certification and guns don’t kill people.

      It is illegal to be here without proper certification and illegals are killing people.

      So your Trump rant is the one deserving of scorn.

  2. Barack Palin

    Great bill, it’s about time.  Obama pulls the same tactics when it comes to the threatening of withholding of federal funds in order to get his desires enacted.

  3. Anon

    If Garamendi opposes this bill, then he needs to be part of the solution to work on federal legislation that makes clear how the federal gov’t is going to handle immigration violations.  Right now, the federal gov’t knows certain cities/states are thumbing their noses at federal law, e.g. sanctuary cities, marijuana use, polygamy, and yet the federal gov’t does nothing/appears feckless.  It refuses to make clear how/if the federal gov’t is going to enforce federal law.  In consequence, cities/states continue to flout federal law, and nothing is done to clear up the ambiguity this causes.

    We need federal legislators to stop saying what they won’t vote for, and start coming up with sensible enforcement mechanisms, e.g. guest worker program for immigration, appropriate drug enforcement policy, crackdown on child pedophilia.  JMO

    1. Tia Will


      I agree that the best approach for Mr. Garamendi, and in fact, all legislators would be to not simply make statements about what they oppose, but to present their own ideas for how to address all of our issues. If that were to be adhered to, perhaps there would be enough common ground for people with good intent but differing views of how to achieve the desired goals to find viable solutions.

    2. Alan Miller

      marijuana use, polygamy

      Lordy, lordy!  Time to fatten up the federal forces and start raiding southern Utah and Humboldt county before all them liberals get them thar laws changed.  Gay marriage?  What’s next:  marijuana use and polyamorism?  We really need to get them federal agents a raidin’ and save people from themselves — and everyone else.  The sober missionary position shall prevail!  USA!  USA!

      1. Anon

        Alan, read the book “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer, if you want to get a feel for how bad polygamy is.  The type practiced in Utah is essentially sanctioned pedophilia.  Older men are marrying their 12 year old daughters.  That is not okay in my book. Nor is it okay by federal law.

        1. Alan Miller

          Not condoning that sort of polygamy.  Neither condoning the government getting involved many aspects of human behavior.  Pedophilia is a crime and and of itself, and personally I’m none too thrilled about polygamy or the overuse of marijuana — but I can’t control others and don’t want the government getting involved on the thin grey lines — instead the gov should be concentrating on the true evil, like pedophilia.
          (editor — hit wrong button)

  4. Tia Will


    and try to demean him”

    Ah, BP. No one has to try to “demean” Mr. Trump. He does a superb job of that all on his own. You are right. My comment was unnecessary and a cheap shot at someone who is already excelling at the point I was making.

    1. Barack Palin

      Funny, but yesterday’s Uber and AirBnB comment section ended up turning into a Trump bashing.  Imagine, Trump being the topic when it comes to those two businesses? Liberals are consumed by Trump.

          1. Don Shor

            Michelle at 4:58 pm.
            Jeff Boone at 6:09 pm.
            Don Shor at 6:23 pm.

            I stand corrected, sort of.

        1. Frankly

          I thought I read your comment something about the front-runner of Republican Presidential candidates making hateful comments.  But I cannot find it.  Maybe it got deleted by the censor.

  5. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    I am curious, how many of you feel that people who have entered our country illegally should be allowed to vote?
    If yes, do you think absentee ballots should be sent to individuals who have been deported from the United States?
    How many of you believe felons should have the right to vote?
    Who should NOT be allowed to vote?

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for