Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District released the following statement today after voting against House Republicans’ legislation to strip vital federal criminal justice grants from cities unless local law enforcement collects information about a person’s immigration status. The bill is opposed by the U.S. Conference of Mayor s and the National League of Cities, as well as nearly every major law enforcement associations in the country, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Major County Sheriffs’ Association, and Major Cities Chiefs Association.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Kate Steinle. Her death is heartbreaking and we mourn her loss. Violent offenders, regardless if they are U.S. citizens or immigrants should not be put back out on the street. Clearly there was a failure in the process of transferring federal prisoners to state and local law enforcement, and that is a process that deserves close scrutiny and review.
“The legislation proposed by House Republicans today does not correct the failure and would do nothing to prevent the events that led to this tragedy. Instead, it encourages policies that damage community policing by creating mistrust of police in immigrant communities. It takes away resources to hire more local law enforcement, and it will discourage victims of domestic violence from reporting crimes if they have to fear deportation when they call the police.
“Republicans need to join with Democrats to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which ensures the focus would be where it belongs – on going after criminals not children, felons not families.”