Sabatina votes against bill to withhold funding for sanctuary cities

State Sen. John Sabatina Jr. (D-5th dist.) voted against a bill that would withhold state funding for sanctuary cities such as Philadelphia.

The bill passed, 37–12. All of the votes against it came from Democrats. Sen. Tina Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.) did not vote.

Sanctuary cities thwart federal efforts to combat illegal immigration by refusing to honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people in custody.

Municipalities that refuse to comply would lose eligibility for state grants, including law enforcement grants.

Sabatina offered an amendment to the bill on the Senate floor to exempt law enforcement grants from losing state funds. The amendment failed by a 34–15 vote.

“I support comprehensive criminal justice policies that ensure the safety of our communities, and I do not believe that the ‘sanctuary city’ designation keeps citizens safe. Additionally, police officers deserve access to all the necessary tools available to keep criminals off the streets,” Sabatina said. “Although the SAFE Act is a good bill in concept, it threatens public safety by stripping away key crime-fighting investments to help our police officers continue to keep our streets safe. Unfortunately, I could not vote for the bill once my amendment failed to get support from the full Senate.”

Philadelphia could potentially lose up to $1.7 billion in state grants under Senate Bill 10.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration. ••