U.S. Senate votes against bill that erodes efforts to build trust with immigrants

U.S. Senate.
U.S. Senate.

The United States Senate voted Tuesday to block consideration of the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act” (S. 2146), a bill that mirrors an act passed by the House of Representatives. This vote should effectively bury the legislation this year.

Dubbed the “Trump Act” by many analysts, the bill would have gutted efforts by local police departments to establish relationships of trust with immigrant communities.

Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who proposed the bill, described this legislation as an effort to protect Americans from criminal aliens.

But far from doing that, the bill would take Federal dollars away from many local police departments if the department were in a jurisdiction that had protections for immigrants detained for minor crimes.

Read: “Long Island Wins and community organizations disapprove of Senate bill targeting immigrant communities.”

Although Senator Vitter has admitted to patronizing prostitutes, the sort of act that would normally result in a police detention were he not a politician, he now demands that immigrants arrested for much lesser crimes be turned over for deportation.

The bill would have also turned the act of coming into the U.S. after a previous deportation into a major criminal action. Anyone convicted of this could be given a ten-year Federal prison sentence. This is more than many persons convicted of manslaughter, rape, and other serious crimes now receive.

A similar bill passed in the House of Representatives in July. Congressman Lee Zeldin was the only Long Island representative who supported the House bill.

“Trump Acts” have been introduced in many state legislatures as well. State Senator, Thomas Croci, from Suffolk County, has proposed such a bill in the New York State Senate.

Read: “Senator Croci’s bill will take away resources from the police and from the community.”