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Rep. Ken Buck Reintroduces Effort to Stop Green-Light Sanctuary City Laws

January 28, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON – On Monday, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) will reintroduce a bill to combat green-light sanctuary city laws. These laws hinder our law enforcement's ability to arrest criminal illegal immigrants and put our national security at risk. 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. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on Thursday.
Congressman Buck made the following statement:
“My home state of Colorado has its own green-light sanctuary laws on the books, which led to the senseless death of Sean Buchanan. Sean was a loving father of five from Colorado Springs who was struck and killed by an illegal immigrant who was driving under a suspended state-issued driver license,” Rep. Ken Buck said. “Sean’s death was completely preventable, and we cannot reward criminal behavior by allowing states to provide sanctuary to illegal immigrants. Thank you, Senator Blackburn, for your leadership on this bill in the Senate.”
Senator Blackburn made the following statement:
“No town in America is secure from criminals and terrorists if our borders aren’t policed and federal immigration laws aren’t fully enforced,” Sen. Blackburn said. “This country is governed by the rule of law. We should not reward illegal aliens with driver licenses when they fail to follow the proper legal process.”
Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action for America, made the following statement:
"Taxpayer dollars should not go to states that assist illegal immigrants in evading the law by issuing driver's licenses to them. I applaud Congressman Buck and Senator Blackburn for standing up for safety, security, and the rule of law in America," Anderson said.
House Cosponsors:
Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Brian Babin (R-Tex.), Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Randy Weber (R-Tex.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Roger Williams (R-Tex.)
In August of 2019, Sean Buchanan was struck and killed by an undocumented immigrant, Miguel Ramirez Valiente, who was driving with a suspended state-issued drivers license. Due to Colorado's sanctuary laws, Mr. Valiente was issued a drivers license and avoided deportation even after receiving a DUI. Mr. Valiente had also faced charges in 2016 for reckless endangerment and domestic violence, but due to Colorado's sanctuary laws, he was not reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
When New York became the 13th state to enact a green-light law giving illegal immigrants access to driver's licenses and barring federal immigrants from accessing DMV data, Congressman Buck and Senator Blackburn introduced bicameral legislation to combat these dangerous sanctuary laws. Now with
16 states having adopted these green-light sanctuary laws, the need for effective legislation to combat these dangerous policies is critical.
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 makes these states ineligible for future JAG grants until they comply with federal immigration laws and requires offending states to return unobligated money within 30 days.