President Trump centered the immigration portion of his State of the Union speech on “sanctuary cities,” calling for Congress to pass a Senate bill that would allow victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue the local or state government if it is a sanctuary.
“The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans — not criminal aliens,” Trump said in his speech at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday evening. He called for the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, to be passed “immediately.”
The president highlighted the story of Jody Jones, whose brother Rocky Jones was killed in December 2018 by a man who had been deported twice but illegally reentered the country.
“Rocky was at a gas station when this vile criminal fired eight bullets at him from close range, murdering him in cold blood. Rocky left behind a devoted family, including his brothers who loved him more than anything,” Trump said.
The president called out California and New York, the former a sanctuary state and the latter a state that includes sanctuary zones where local policies prohibit law enforcement from turning over criminals to federal immigration officers for deportation. As a candidate and president, Trump has called for an end to this type of noncooperation between local and federal law enforcement. He blamed Rocky Jones’s death on “outrageous” policies in California.
Trump also thanked Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose Enforcement and Removal Operations officers across the country make arrests of illegal immigrants who have been released from local jails in sanctuary zones and elsewhere.