New Haven Mayor Toni Harp says there is some sad irony in the recent action by the US House of Representative to defund so-called “sanctuary cities” in the wake of the shooting of a 31-year old woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five different times.
Sanctuary cities—to one degree or another—don’t comply with federal immigration laws so as to protect illegal immigrants living within the cities. In Connecticut, New Haven and Hartford are self-declared “sanctuary cities.”
The House voted 241-179, mostly along party lines, to punish the cities by withholding federal funds for various law enforcement programs. The cities have come under increased scrutiny since the killing of Kathryn Steinle as she walked on the boardwalk with her father.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had seven felony convictions since 1991 and has been deported five times from the United States to Mexico. He is accused in the shooting.
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Under the legislation, sanctuary cities would lose valuable justice department funding including reimbursement for the cost of detaining illegals. Mayor Harp is concerned. “Disappointing only begins to describe federal legislation that seems intent on punishing American cities where new residents to this country are welcome and made to feel at home,” Harp said. “The irony is that during all these years of federal inaction on immigration reform – with the exception of President Obama’s executive action – local governments have bailed out the federal government with programs and services to help new residents get settled and get started in the United States,” she said.
The Hanging Shad requested comment from Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra on the new legislation. His spokeswoman said he was too busy to be reached.