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Rep. Buck and Sen. Blackburn Lead Effort to Stop Green-Light Sanctuary Laws

February 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced bicameral legislation to support President Trump’s efforts to combat so-called green-light sanctuary laws. These state laws not only place an immense strain on our national security apparatus, but curtail law enforcement’s ability to arrest dangerous criminals. 

The Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act withholds certain federal grants for states that give driver licenses to illegal immigrants and shield criminal illegal immigrants from deportation.

“Just last year in my home state of Colorado, Sean Buchanan, a loving father of five, was struck and killed by Miguel Ramirez Valiente, an illegal immigrant who was driving under a suspended state-issued driver license. Ramirez Valiente should have been deported after a DUI conviction, but because of Colorado’s sanctuary laws, officials provided him sanctuary and shielded him from deportation. Sean’s tragedy was completely preventable,”Congressman Buck said. “Congress cannot stand by and let another family go through a tragic loss like the Buchanans did. That’s why I am proud to introduce legislation with Sen. Marsha Blackburn to stop these green-light sanctuary laws from wreaking havoc on communities across the country.”

“Tennesseans know all too well what can happen when illegal immigrants are granted driver licenses,” Senator Blackburn said. “While Tennessee and many other states prohibit driver licenses for illegal aliens, a growing number of states are moving in the opposite direction and unleashing dangerous open borders policies. Immigrants must follow the proper federal process and obtain citizenship or lawful status before obtaining a state driver license. In America, no one is above the law.”

“I support Congressman Buck’s legislation to penalize sanctuary states that prevent enforcement of immigration laws. States and communities that provide safe harbor to illegal aliens – including illegal aliens guilty of violent crimes – put their residents in danger and incentivize illegal immigration. I support the Trump administration’s efforts to enforce our immigration laws, hold states and cities accountable for following these laws, and protect innocent Americans from preventable crimes. Congress must join the administration’s efforts to protect our constituents and defend American sovereignty,” Congressman Andy Biggs said.

“Providing drivers licenses to illegal aliens simply defies common sense. Before you know it these licenses will be used at voting booths across the country. Issuing illegal aliens an official government ID is a de facto open-borders policy,” Congressman Paul Gosar said. 

 “In the wake of so many preventable tragedies involving illegal immigrants, it’s common sense to stop granting federal funds to states who refuse to enforce federal law. It’s time to get tough on sanctuary cities and states so that we can keep our communities safe,” Congressman Ted Budd said.

“Each year illegal aliens kill roughly 2,000 Americans on American soil. That American blood is on the hands of those who adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’. To make matters even worse, Socialist Democrats double down on their radical agenda by giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens—encouraging and promoting lawlessness. The federal government must use every arrow in its quiver to end sanctuary policies across the country. I fully support withholding federal grants from states that offer drivers licenses to illegal aliens, and I am proud to cosponsor Congressman Buck’s Stop Greenlighting Drivers Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act,”  Congressman Mo Brooks said.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and lawful immigration provides countless benefits to our nation. In recent years, however, several states have enacted laws and policies that not only aid those who choose to break our immigration laws, but also obstruct federal efforts to keep our nation safe on this front. Granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and prohibiting local and state law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials are two of the most egregious examples. This bill will encourage those states to reconsider these policies.  Ultimately we have a right and responsibility to know who (and what) comes across our border, but that cannot happen with some states facilitating unlawful immigration,” Congressman Ralph Norman said.

“‘Green-light laws,’ which allow illegal aliens to obtain drivers’ licenses, are not just misguided — they are profoundly dangerous. These policies hinder DHS background checks, limit law enforcement officers’ ability to apprehend dangerous criminals, and make our nation less secure. I am proud to cosponsor Rep. Buck’s Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act. States should not be rewarded for defying federal immigration laws and attempting to thwart law enforcement,” Congressman Matt Gaetz said.

“I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the ‘Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act’.  This bill will penalize states who violate federal immigration laws that are designed to keep us safe.  Illegal immigrants who commit crimes should be deported, not shielded by government officials.  Families in America have lost too many loved ones from easily preventable tragedies and this bill takes strong steps to prevent them from happening in the future,” Congressman Denver Riggleman said.

“Sanctuary cities provide shelter for criminals at the expense of U.S. citizens and legal residents. The federal government has a constitutional responsibility to secure our borders and ensure the safety of Americans. We cannot allow states and local governments to blatantly disregard federal law and endanger Americans and our many legal immigrants who thrive in our country,” Congressman Randy Weber said.

“We’re a Nation of laws. State and local governments endanger American Citizens when they pick and choose which federal laws to enforce, and must be held accountable. Sanctuary city policies allow dangerous criminals to remain in our communities, and cost innocent American lives. I thank Congressman Buck for his leadership on this issue and look forward to Congress continuing to protect our communities,” Congressman Scott Perry said.



Last year, New York became the 13th state to enact a green-light law, giving illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses, while also prohibiting federal immigration officials from accessing Department of Motor Vehicle data. These policies have wide-ranging national security impacts, including preventing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials from completing background checks for individuals entering the country, thwarting customs officers’ ability to complete proper vehicle inspections, and curtailing the law enforcement’s ability to arrest dangerous criminals.

Just recently, Attorney General Barr announced a “significant escalation” in the DOJ’s efforts to stop sanctuary policies filing suit against the state of New Jersey and King County in Washington. This action comes on the heels of DHS suspending New York residents’ enrollment in the Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs over New York State’s green-light law.

To support the Trump administration’s efforts to stop sanctuary policies, the Stop Greenlighting Driver Licenses for Illegal Immigrants Act combats misguided and dangerous laws by allowing the Department of Justice to withhold Byrne JAG grant funds from states that offer driver licenses to illegal immigrants or forbid law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials. Additionally, the bill would make these states ineligible for future JAG grants until they comply with federal immigration laws, and require offending states to return unobligated money within 30 days.