WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has re-introduced the Justice for Newark College Students Act. This legislation aims to end “sanctuary city” policies and keep dangerous felons off of our streets.
Congressman Dent’s bill requires state and local authorities to inform the Department of Homeland Security when they arrest an illegal alien on a state felony charge. The bill would then deny bail to the illegal alien relative to his federal deportation proceedings.
“If the police arrest an illegal alien on a state felony charge, immigration authorities should be told of that arrest so that they can begin the process of deporting that person,” Congressman Dent said. “And if that defendant manages to get bail on the state charge, the feds should be required to lock him up pending deportation. This is just common sense.”
The bill was originally introduced in the 110th Congress in the wake of an incident on August 4, 2007, when three young adults were shot in the back of the head, execution style, in a Newark, New Jersey schoolyard. The first suspect arrested in this case was an illegal alien named Jose Carranza – who was already was a defendant in two other pending felony cases — aggravated assault and 31 counts of child abuse – and he was free to commit this crime on a $150,000 bond.
Congressman Dent noted this case as an example of two problems. First, many local municipalities have adopted “sanctuary city” policies, in which local police are discouraged or even forbidden from informing immigration authorities that they have an illegal alien in custody. In this case, the Newark Police Department operated under a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when it came to inquiring about a defendant’s immigration status.
The second problem is federal immigration policy itself.
“If an illegal alien commits a felony under state law, he is deportable,” Congressman Dent said. “But under the current state of U.S. immigration law, that illegal alien could still get bail on his immigration case and be free to walk the streets. That needs to change.”