Republicans Deciding If Infrastructure Bills Should Exclude Sanctuary City Projects

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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PHILADELPHIA — President Donald Trump issued executive orders Wednesday that stripped sanctuary cities of federal grants if they continue to harbor illegal immigrants who committed criminal acts, but Republican members have yet to figure out if other federal money would be withheld.

House Speaker Paul Ryan applauded the executive order saying in a statement, “This is about keeping Americans safe. We are committed to working with the administration to stop the influx of illegal immigration along the southern border, protect our homeland, and uphold the rule of law. I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to make this a national priority.”

The Daily Caller asked Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune if infrastructure money would be withheld from states who may direct the money toward cities that break federal immigration law.

“An infrastructure bill will have to go through Congress. It would obviously have to be funded and so Congress would obviously have to shape that and if there are dollars distributed to the state and local governments, there very well could be depending on how that bill is put together,” Thune said. “Those are decisions we’ll have to make and I know the administration and President Trump has spoken very clearly about his views on sanctuary cities, and I think that’s a view that’s shared by a lot of members of Congress, but that’s a point of discussion if we get to an infrastructure bill.”

Democrats dropped a $1 trillion 11-page infrastructure plan on Tuesday hoping to hone in on Trump’s own infrastructure ambitions.

A Trump priority on the White House policy docket is a federal infrastructure plan that includes 50 possible transportation projects nationwide totaling at least $137.5 billion, according to documents obtained by McClatchy’s Kansas City Star and The News Tribune. The states listed for potential projects have sanctuary cities within their borders.

The documents show a preliminary list of projects given to the National Governor’s Association by the Trump transition team and was circulated to state officials. Another similar document was sent around congressional districts and business communities, McClatchy reported, and shows half of the funding is private investment.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Charlie Dent told The Daily Caller he believes Community Development Block Grants (CDBG’s) should be withheld from sanctuary cities as a penalty for municipalities for breaking immigration law.

“I don’t know about infrastructure but I always thought if you want to get the attention of municipalities that didn’t want to cooperate with immigration enforcement go after the CDBG funds. That’s federal money used on a discretionary basis by municipalities….virtually all law enforcement in my communities they check immigration status when arrests are made. That’s routine practice. That’s not too much to ask of communities,” Dent said.

New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins also wants to make sure municipalities that are sanctuary cities get punished. When asked by TheDC about infrastructure spending in those cities, Collins would only say, “If you’re in a sanctuary city, I wouldn’t count on funding—I wouldn’t—I’m not speaking for the President or Speaker. I think it’s very clear this country cannot tolerate sanctuary cities that break the law and the governments that support sanctuary cities are, I don’t believe, going to be getting to be getting federal assistance from much of anything until they end up abiding by the law.”

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