Split largely along party lines, The House passed legislation on Thursday to crack down on illegal immigration and enact a key priority of President Trump’s known as "Kate's Law."
As The Hill reports, the House approved two bill –
- one would cut off some federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration authorities;
- the other would impose tougher sentences on criminals who have entered the U.S. illegally multiple times.
“For years, the lack of immigration enforcement and spread of sanctuary policies have cost too many lives,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the author of both bills.
Kate's Law is named for Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman killed by an illegal immigrant who was in the U.S. despite multiple deportations.The brutal murder of Steinle catapulted the issue of illegal criminal aliens into the national spotlight. Alleged shooter Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times and had seven felony convictions. The two-year anniversary of her death is on Saturday.
The second measure, "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," would cut federal grants to states and “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with law enforcement carrying out immigration enforcement activities.
“The word 'sanctuary' calls to mind someplace safe, but too often for families and victims affected by illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities are anything but safe,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly asserted in the pre-vote press conference.
“It is beyond my comprehension why federal state and local officials … would actively discourage or outright prevent law enforcement agencies from upholding the laws of the United States,” he added.
House Democratic leaders encouraged members to oppose the bill to withhold funds from sanctuary cities, but didn’t apply as much pressure on “Kate’s Law,” which establishes higher penalties for criminals who have entered the country illegally. As The Hill reports,
The sanctuary city bill passed 228-195, while the sentencing bill passed 257-167.
Three Democrats defected from their party to support taking away grants from the sanctuary localities: Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Collin Peterson (Minn.). Seven Republicans voted against the bill: Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Peter King (N.Y.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.).
Twenty-four Democrats voted for "Kate's Law." Amash was the only Republican to oppose it.
President Trump was pleased…
Good news, House just passed #KatesLaw. Hopefully Senate will follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
Calling the bills "vital to public safety and national security."
Democrats, as appears to be their identity-politics-driven divisive way, accused proponents of the bill of stoking anti-immigrant attitudes.
“These bills are nothing new and they are not really about immigration or fighting crime,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said during House floor debate. “They are about racial profiling and putting Latinos, quote unquote, in our place.”
ICE already has arrested nearly 66,000 individuals this year that were either known or suspected to be in the country illegally. Of those arrested, 48,000 were convicted criminal aliens.
We now await the legal challenges to these bills which we are sure will be unleashed instantly.