Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., told on Thursday the recent court decision on sanctuary cities shows his bill banning grants to states that allow driver's licenses for illegal immigrants "is constitutionally legitimate and correct."
Trump administration this week scored a victory in its fight against sanctuary cities after a federal appeals court ruled it can deny federal grant money from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program to states that will not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Rounds told "," he and the bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., "believe that it's inappropriate to continue to send Byrne fund grants back to states, local units of government, that are basically thumbing their nose at the federal government's requirement that certain things be included when we talk about appropriately licensing individuals for driving.
"We use that driver's license as a proof of ID when it comes to traveling within the United States right now. There is no reason for these different states not to honor what the federal government expects, if they're going to use it as a legal form of identification, and that's what this is all about."
He added, "this is about $53 million that we're suggesting be withheld from these states if they're not going to comply with the guidelines that the rest of us are."
Rounds said "there's no reason" to allow illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses "when federal law prohibits that."
The senator also addressed the coronavirus outbreak and praised President Donald Trump for appointing Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. response, which he said "gives some confidence to the American people that it will be a coordinated effort, that's a step in the right direction."
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