House passes ‘Kate’s Law’ and bill targeting sanctuary cities
|| The Hill
“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.”
In largely party line votes, the House approved two bills. 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.
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.).
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.
Twenty-four Democrats voted for “Kate’s Law.” Amash was the only Republican to oppose it.
The sentencing legislation is named after Kate Steinle, who was fatally shot in 2015 in San Francisco by a man who had had seven previous felony convictions and was deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.
Trump had invoked the shooting on the campaign trail to promote his immigration agenda, including at his speech at the Republican National Convention last summer when he accepted the party’s presidential nomination.
The convention featured speeches from parents whose children were killed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally, and the White House has tried to keep a focus on the issue since then.
Three of first lady Melania Trump’s guests at the president’s address to Congress in February were people who had family members killed by undocumented immigrants.
During his address to Congress, Trump announced a new Homeland Security office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) to assist victims of crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally.
Trump earlier Thursday called the two immigration bills “vital to public safety and national security.”
“I’m calling on all lawmakers to put the safety of American families first. Let’s pass these bills through the House, through the Senate, and send them to my desk. I will give them the fastest approval, the fastest signature, that you have ever seen.”
Despite the House passage of the two bills on Thursday, Democrats are likely to present a roadblock in the Senate.”
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