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Vance bill would ban sanctuary cities from receiving federal housing grants

Republican Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance is introducing legislation that would ban sanctuary cities from receiving federal housing grants as the migrant crisis surges across America.

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, is introducing legislation Tuesday to ban sanctuary cities from receiving federal housing grants.

The legislation, named the "No Community Development Block Grants for Sanctuary Cities Act," would amend the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 to prevent sanctuary jurisdictions from becoming grantees for Community Development Block Grants.

Vance is introducing the legislation in the wake of a slew of high-profile crimes involving alleged illegal immigrants, including the murder of Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley, who was killed while jogging near the University of Georgia last month.

"Our government sends hundreds of millions in federal housing grants to sanctuary cities each year. Those funds are now on the chopping block," Vance said in a statement to FOX Business. "With this legislation, the local officials who undermine America’s border security can say goodbye to these federal housing grants."

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Vance is joined in introducing the legislation by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., who sits alongside the Ohio senator on the powerful Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

"Cities that encourage illegal immigration shouldn’t be rewarded with federal housing subsidies," Hagerty told FOX Business. "I’m proud to support this legislation that prevents taxpayer dollars from flowing to sanctuary cities that refuse to enforce the law."

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program currently provides "annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment," according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The program is a favorite of local leaders, who frequently use the provided funds for low- and moderate- income persons in their communities.

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Coincidentally, the CDBG program saw cuts in President Biden’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget unveiled this week, with the program receiving a funding cut of $400 million for formula grants, a total of $2.9 billion, the National Low Income Housing Coalition wrote Tuesday.

Sanctuary cities have become a hot topic of political debate as the migrant crisis at the southern border has worsened, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection tracking well over 1 million migrant encounters since Oct. 1 of last year, when Fiscal Year 2024 began.

That issue has come to the forefront in New York City, which has seen more than 100,000 asylum seekers, according to officials. 

New York City has been a sanctuary city since 1989, with then-Mayor Ed Koch signing an executive action declaring the status. 

That policy, however, is now under increased scrutiny as the city struggles to deal with the influx of arrivals. 

Most notably, New York City Mayor Eric Adams advocated to change at least some part of that law last month, remarking, "we need to modify the sanctuary city law that if you commit a felony, a violent act, we should be able to turn you over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and have you deported."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM FOX BUSINESS

Those comments drew pushback from fellow New Yorker, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, who told the Washington Times, "He’s not just trying to tweak [the law] a little bit. The idea that a person can be deported just on an accusation is substantially different than a conviction and due process, and I disagree."

Also speaking out on the issue was Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who told ABC when asked about NYC’s sanctuary status, "this solution has to be on the border and in the countries that people are fleeing. I don't think it's in the best interests of this country to push immigrants into the shadows once they are here, so to me, the focus has to be on the border." 

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