By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
February 6, 2020
U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ efforts to halt sanctuary city policies and force sheriffs to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement garnered nationwide attention Tuesday when President Trump highlighted one of the Tar Heel senator’s bills during his State of the Union address.
Trump described a California case in which an undocumented immigrant with prior robbery and assault convictions was released and then went on a deadly crime spree. The President introduced a man named Jody in the audience as the brother of Rocky Jones, one of the alleged killer’s victims.
“Jody, our hearts weep for your loss, and we will not rest until you have justice,” Trump promised.
“Senator Thom Tillis is introducing legislation that will allow people like Jody to sue sanctuary cities and states when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly practices,” he added. “The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens.”
In a social media post following the President’s speech, Tillis said he appreciates the Administration’s commitment to work with Congress to protect Americans from “reckless policies that are being implemented in North Carolina’s largest counties and putting families at risk.”
“That is why I have introduced multiple bills and worked with local sheriffs to change federal law and make communities safer,” Tillis posted on his Facebook account. “I will continue to work with my colleagues and President Trump to end sanctuary policies once and for all.”
Last July, Tillis filed the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act to create a path for victims of illegal immigrants who were freed by sanctuary policies to sue those jurisdictions.
“I’m not somebody known for wanting to create opportunities for trial lawyers, but if this person became a victim, at least in part, because they released somebody that could be in ICE detention, then there should be consequences for that,” Tillis told the media late last year.
His proposed legislation garnered media attention after a WBTV investigative report showed that nearly 500 illegal immigrants were released from North Carolina jails over 10 months because sheriffs refused to comply with ICE detainer requests. Those let out of jail included people charged with sex offenses, kidnapping, arson and homicide.
“North Carolina counties are releasing illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes like rape and murder without even notifying federal officials, jeopardizing public safety,” Tillis’ wrote in a statement after WBTV released its report. “This is why Congress needs to pass legislation I introduced to protect North Carolinians from dangerous criminals and to hold sanctuary counties responsible for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.”
Some municipal and law enforcement officials have defended their non-cooperation with the detainer requests, saying that they are not considered legal warrants.
“We heard a few jurisdictions saying that one of the reasons they were having challenges cooperating with ICE was they were being subjected to potential lawsuits because they were holding some of these people that had ICE detainer orders too long,” Tillis said in reference to the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act. “So what we wanted to do was just clarify the law to give them a full 48 hours to safely transfer them.”
“Even for cities that don’t have sanctuary policies, this would give them clarity that there would be no doubt they could hold them and honor the detainer request,” he added.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said he knows Tillis from his days as a state representative in the N.C. House and later as its Speaker. “He’s a good and thoughtful man, who’s more interested in what’s true and right than he is political allegiances or gain. I believe he genuinely cares about the people of North Carolina. He’s demonstrated sacrificial service on behalf of our state’s citizenry and his wife is truly his better half – something that reflects highly on him,” said Creech.
“Nowhere in the Bible is there any command or insinuation that a nation must accept immigrants, nor is being received into the country an alien’s God-given right,” added Creech. “So it is not only acceptable for the government to deal with people who are in the country illegally according to its statutes and laws, but public officials have a moral duty to do so. This is especially the case when it comes to illegals that are criminal, or have an infectious disease, or give the indication that in some way, they would be a negative rather than a positive for the country. Christian doctrine does insist, however, that we not wrong or oppress the alien. We are to treat them humanely, kindly, even lovingly.”
Creech further said it made him proud to hear Trump refer to Tillis’ bill and Congress should “get to cracking and pass it.”