WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) on Thursday introduced the Improving Public Safety Through Immigration Warrant Issuance Act, legislation to improve public safety and ensure strategic cooperation between state and federal governments by creating a mechanism that would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to obtain a judicially authorized warrant for a noncitizen who has been charged or convicted of committing a felony or violent crime in the United States. Under the current system, when a noncitizen is charged by state or local law enforcement, ICE often issues an administrative request, known as a detainer, to hold the person in state custody until ICE arrives. However, because detainers are not authorized by a judge, state or local law enforcement cannot hold a person in physical custody longer than the period they would have been released or they risk violating that person’s Fourth Amendment rights.

“Even though we know immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than Americans, it is also true that there are times when ICE needs to take custody of a noncitizen accused or convicted of a serious crime. This proposal is a narrowly-tailored, commonsense solution to address that serious gap, while also preserving the due process rights of noncitizens. Unlike the bills proposed by House Republicans, this legislation would actually fix one of the problems facing our immigration system, rather than serve as a messaging tool to demonize immigrants. If Republicans are interested in anything other than political theater they should support this bill,” said Murphy.

“We need to do everything we can to keep Ohio communities safe and secure the border. That means making sure that local, state, and federal law enforcement have the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Brown. “With this legislation, we can make the changes necessary to ensure law enforcement can work together to protect the people they serve.”

“Wisconsinites should feel safe in their neighborhoods and know that law enforcement has the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Baldwin. “Our bill ensures that if a noncitizen is charged with a violent crime or could be a risk to our community, our state and federal law enforcement agencies can effectively coordinate to protect Wisconsin communities. This is a step in the right direction to fixing our broken immigration system and I am proud to be part of the solution.”

“We have a solemn obligation to keep our communities safe, and all criminals off our streets,” said King. “The Improving Public Safety Through Immigration Warrant Issuance Act is a commonsense step forward that will work to improve coordination between local, state and federal authorities regarding undocumented people who have been charged with or convicted of violent crimes. This legislation reinforces our commitment to public safety while we work toward a bipartisan solution to our nation’s insufficient immigration policies.”

“As families across Pennsylvania are increasingly worried about public safety in their communities, we need to make sure that violent criminals aren’t being released from custody because of a system that isn’t working,” said Casey. “This bill would give local and federal law enforcement the tools they need to better coordinate and keep perpetrators of serious and violent crimes off our streets.”

“Public safety is one of my top priorities,” said Kaine. “That’s why I’m joining my colleagues in calling for this commonsense step to ensure that federal and local law enforcement can work together to help protect communities from people who pose a genuine threat to public safety or national security.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  1. Ensure due process and consistency with the U.S. Constitution by requiring ICE to show probable cause, which is the same standard that state and local governments must meet to obtain a criminal warrant;
  2. Ensure that individuals who have been charged or convicted of a felony, a crime of violence, including crimes against children, or who are a national security threat and are removable under the immigration laws, remain in physical custody as appropriate;
  3. Ensure that an entity holding a noncitizen, pursuant to a lawfully served warrant, notifies the federal government when such noncitizen is planned to be released.

The text of the legislation can be found HERE. A one-pager on the bill can be found HERE.