Barton speaks out against sanctuary cities after bill passage

Congressman Joe Barton.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 3009, the "Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act," on Thursday. The legislation cuts off specific federal grants for sanctuary cities that ignore federal immigration law and threaten the safety of their communities.

"Sanctuary cities reward illegal immigrants and encourage others to break the law by entering the country on their terms knowing they won’t be punished. This creates a loophole in federal law that, at times, allows dangerous criminals to stay in our country, instead of being deported before they strike again. I believe this is unacceptable. This legislation is just a first step. It puts pressure on these sanctuary cities by withholding federal grants if they do not comply with requests from federal agencies to hold undocumented immigrants.

"Our country was founded on opportunity and freedom, and I have always been a supporter of immigration through legal entry into the United States. Providing people from across the world an opportunity to legally become hard-working American citizens is a fundamental principle of our great nation.

"The current immigration system needs to be reformed, but before we change one word of federal statute we need stronger enforcement and increased border security.

"The American dream is alive and well and should be made available to those who have come to our nation the right way – not those who have broken the law."