It’s May 15 at 2:30 a.m. and I am still sitting in the Senate chamber.
Debate has just concluded on one of the most dangerous bills offered by the majority this session—an expansion of the state’s sanctuary policy for illegal immigrants, called the Trust Act. This bill eliminates the seven critical exemptions that still remain in our current law that allow local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Those exemptions include: Situations where an undocumented person in custody has been convicted of a felony; a person is subject to pending criminal charges, has an outstanding arrest warrant, is identified as a known gang member, is identified as a possible match in the federal Terrorist Screening Database, is subject to a final deportation or removal order; or presents an unacceptable risk to public safety.
Contrary to the overt misinformation campaign put forward by proponents of this legislation, it does not protect “immigrants.” Listen carefully, as they seem to forget the word “illegal” or “undocumented” as if it doesn’t matter. Nevertheless, the bill doesn’t protect “illegal aliens” either. It protects only one group of people—undocumented aliens who are also criminals wanted by the federal immigration authorities.
It’s a bizarre move. I was told the whole point of the Trust Act is to encourage illegal aliens to report criminals in their communities based on the knowledge that they could “trust” local police and were safe from being reported to federal immigration officers. This bill ultimately applies the same protection to the criminal next door.
The result, of course, is that the public safety of all Connecticut residents will be compromised: citizens and non-citizens alike, even otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants.
Despite my best efforts leading the fight in the Senate in opposition, the bill passed with all Republicans voting no and all but one Democrat voting yes. Kudos to Senator Joan Hartley for seeing this for the bad policy that it is. The bill now goes to the House for a vote and, if passed, will make Connecticut even more of a sanctuary state than California—a “super” sanctuary state!
This is a terrible trend that is sweeping across our country. Much ado has been made about our “broken” immigration system. The broken part, in my opinion, is a tremendous lack of border security, and the desire by most decision makers in Washington to maintain the status quo.
The Democrats continue to use the issue as a tool to deride their political opponents as somehow bigoted or racist simply because they believe in upholding the rule of law. Ironically, it is their policy agenda that includes sanctuary policies, driver’s licenses for illegals, a don’t-ask policy for access to social services, and an open door policy for education and medical benefits, costing residents over a $1 billion in taxes each year in our state. Maintaining the status quo forces undocumented aliens to live in the shadows, work under the table, and risk being preyed upon by the bad actors in their communities—a real problem that will be exacerbated by this bill if it becomes law.
Republicans in Washington are little better, refusing to stand on principle, and instead choosing to run from the issue and from its only champion, President Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, one issue he is attempting to lead on is immigration. Others should follow. Wouldn’t it be great if even one of our seven Democratic federal representatives made this a priority also?
As I said to the Lt. Governor during this debate, I will continue to focus on doing my job, representing my constituents, defending the Constitution, and advocating for good public policy rather than “gotcha” politics.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at www.senatorsampson.com.