On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to oppose the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” (H.R. 3003) and “Kate’s Law” (H.R. 3004). Both are enforcement-only immigration bills that will do little but further elevate fear in our workplaces and communities. Rather than addressing the core problems with our broken immigration system, these bills would undermine public safety, cut off funding for local policing, swell the coffers of for-profit detention facilities, and make it easier for abusive employers to retaliate against hard-working people.
The AFL-CIO strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform that creates a broad and inclusive pathway to citizenship, enhances workers’ rights, boosts our economy, and makes our communities both safer and more just. By contrast, piecemeal enforcement approaches like these bills create fear and have a dangerous chilling effect on the exercise of basic workplace rights. They also lend support to an anti-immigrant narrative that should have no place in our national policy debate.
Despite claims to the contrary, the prescriptions and penalties outlined in H.R. 3003 would undermine public safety. Effective community policing requires trust between law enforcement and community members. The imposition of unjust immigration laws on immigrant communities destroys that trust. Nonetheless, H.R. 3003 proposes to punish jurisdictions that commit to sensible local policing by withholding federal funding for critical public safety programs and would exacerbate the use of our broken immigration system as a tool of exploitation.
H.R. 3003 also threatens to strip away hard-fought gains that have helped to protect immigrant workers against employer retaliation. The groundswell of anti-detainer policies passed by hundreds of communities around the country help to make it harder for abusive employers to use the threat of deportation as a weapon to silence workers. Working people should not have to worry that an employer’s false tip to police could set deportation proceedings in motion, yet the requirements in this bill would enable just such retaliation.
Moreover, H.R. 3003 erodes adherence to core constitutional principles. The right to due process is a foundation of our legal system. It is critical to overcoming entrenched patterns of discrimination and racial profiling in the enforcement of our laws. Community trust policies do not prevent agencies from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement, they merely require that cooperation will only occur when duly ordered by the courts.
By heightening the penalties for civil violations, H.R. 3004 would put tens of thousands more people behind bars at enormous cost to taxpayers. Shamefully, many of those affected would be women and children fleeing violence and repression. Our nation should honor its humanitarian obligations by ending the disgraceful practice of family detention, not expanding it.
We call upon our Representatives to enact balanced, systemic immigration reform rather than advancing piecemeal, enforcement-only bills that further criminalize our immigrant communities. We urge you to oppose the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” and “Kate’s Law,” two punitive bills that target and scapegoat immigrant working people.
William Samuel, Director
Government Affairs Department