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H.R. 3003 (115th): No Sanctuary for Criminals Act


H.R. 3003 strengthens current law to combat dangerous sanctuary policies that shield unlawful and criminal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement. Specifically, the bill clarifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer authority – the tool used by federal immigration enforcement officers to pick up criminal aliens from local jails – by established statutory probable cause standards to issue detainers for the first time. In addition, the bill withholds certain federal grants from jurisdictions that violate federal law by prohibiting their officers from cooperating with ICE. Jurisdictions that comply with detainers are protected from being sued and victims of certain crimes are allowed to sue jurisdictions that refuse to comply and subsequently release criminal aliens onto the streets. Finally, the underlying bill includes Sarah and Grant’s Law, which ensures unlawful immigrants convicted of drunk driving or are arrested for other dangerous crimes are detained during their removal proceedings.

Last updated Jun 29, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 29, 2017.


(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

No Sanctuary for Criminals Act

(Sec. 2) This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to prohibit any federal, state, or local government or any individual from prohibiting any government entity, official, or employee from complying with the immigration laws or cooperating with federal law enforcement of such laws.

The bill expands the scope of law enforcement activities relating to immigration-related information that a federal, state, or local government may not restrict or prohibit to include: (1) making inquiries to an individual in order to obtain immigration-related information regarding any individual, (2) notifying the federal government regarding the presence of individuals who are encountered by law enforcement officials or other state or local personnel, or (3) complying with federal law enforcement requests for such information.

A state or political subdivision not in compliance with such immigration enforcement provisions shall be ineligible to receive grants or assistance for: (1) incarceration of undocumented aliens; (2) the Cops on the Beat program; (3) the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice program; or (4) any Department of Justice (DOJ) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant substantially related to law enforcement, terrorism, national security, immigration, or naturalization.

DHS: (1) may decline to transfer an alien in its custody to a non-complying state or political subdivision regardless of whether the state or political subdivision has issued a writ or warrant, (2) shall not transfer an alien with a final order of removal to a non-complying state or political subdivision, and (3) shall determine and report annually regarding non-complying states or political subdivisions.

At the request of the House or Senate Judiciary Committee, DHS shall issue a compliance report about any state or political subdivision. A non-complying jurisdiction shall be ineligible for federal financial assistance for at least one year and shall become eligible only after DHS certifies that it is in compliance.

Funds that are not allocated to a noncomplying state or political subdivision shall be reallocated to a complying state or political subdivision.

(Sec. 3) In the case of an individual who is arrested by any federal, state, or local law enforcement official or other personnel for the alleged violation of a criminal or motor vehicle law, DHS may issue a detainer to any federal, state, or local law enforcement entity, official, or other personnel if DHS has probable cause to believe that such individual is an inadmissible or deportable alien. (Current law applies only to an individual arrested for a controlled substance violation and requires an enforcement officer to have reason to believe that such individual is unlawfully present in the United States.)

The bill prescribes probable cause criteria.

DHS may take custody of a properly detained individual within 48-96 hours after the date that the individual is otherwise to be released from federal, state, or local custody.

The bill provides states, political subdivisions, official personnel, and contractor entities and personnel with immunity from liability for temporarily detaining, within the scope of their duties, an alien for DHS transfer to the same extent provided for corresponding federal immunity. The United States shall be the proper defendant in any civil action arising from such detainer.

Immunity shall not apply in instances of mistreatment.

A victim (or family member of a deceased victim) of murder, rape, or certain felonies committed by an alien who has been convicted and sentenced to at least one year in prison may bring an action against a state or political subdivision that released such alien prior to the crime's commission as a consequence of the state or political subdivision's declining to honor a detainer.

Such an action may not be brought later than 10 years after the crime or the person's death because of such crime, whichever occurs later. A court shall allow a prevailing plaintiff attorney's fees and certain other costs.

(Sec. 4) DHS may detain an alien without time limitation during the pendency of removal proceedings. Bond is permitted only for an individual who is not a flight risk or a danger to another person or the community.

The bill expands the categories of offenses requiring mandatory detention during the pendency of removal proceedings to include an alien who: (1) is unlawfully present in the United States and has been convicted for driving while intoxicated, under the influence, or impaired by alcohol or drugs, without regard to whether the conviction is classified as a misdemeanor or felony under state law; and (2) is inadmissible for illegal entry or deportable by reason of visa revocation or violation of nonimmigrant status and who has been arrested or charged with a particularly serious crime or a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.

An alien subject to mandatory detention may not be released on bond.

The bill limits DOJ's review of DHS custody determinations for aliens who are in exclusion hearings, or who are excludable or deportable on security grounds or other specified grounds, to issues of whether such aliens may be detained or released with or without bond.