01 July, 2017
The US House of Representatives has passed a bill increasing prison sentences for undocumented immigrants who illegally reenter the country after being deported. The legislation is named after Kathryn Steinle, a woman who was allegedly murdered by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco in 2015. She was 32. The fatal shooting put San Francisco's "sanctuary" city policy in the national spotlight.
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. Kate's Law would do that by increasing the penalties for deported aliens who return to the United States. "Or is the goal of our government to protect felons who have entered our country illegally, broken our laws and threatened our people?"
President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed House approval of the bills and urged the Senate to act soon.
But surrounded by lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday, Trump framed the immigration bills pending before Congress as a way to liberate towns across the USA from undocumented "bad people".
The sanctuary measure was approved 228-195.
"It is unjust to penalize law enforcement and the citizens they serve because Congress disagrees with their enforcement priorities with respect to our nation's immigration laws".
"We are protecting the freedoms of law-abiding Americans, and we are going after the criminal gangs and cartels that prey on our innocent citizens".
As Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times noted this week, "federal judges remain major stumbling blocks to (Trump's) aggressive immigration plans, with courts from California to MI and Atlanta limiting his crackdown on sanctuary cities and stopping him from deporting illegal immigrants he has targeted for removal".
The second piece of legislation, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would grant additional powers to the federal government to compel sanctuary cities to abide by federal immigration policy. Three Democrats joined all but seven Republicans to pass the sanctuary measure, while 24 Democrats backed the deportee bill.More news: Accuser takes the stand in Bill Cosby sexual assault trial
"Sanctuary cities are magnets for illegal immigrants including some risky people with criminal records", Roby told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
"For six years, we have been just getting by - cutting resources as the world becomes more risky, asking more and more of those who serve, and putting off the tough choices", said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the House committee's chairman.
Allows victims of crimes involving illegal criminal aliens released back onto the streets to sue the jurisdiction that refuse to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
During the meeting with Trump, Ronnebeck called these kinds of crimes committed by illegal immigrants "preventable".
Trump also called on the Senate to pass the bills so that he may sign them into law.
GALEO Executive Director Jerry Gonzalez said the legislation would further criminalize immigrants and likely incarcerate more of them.
Hoyer said the GOP proposal has flaws -- particularly as it relates to those immigrants seeking asylum -- and he lamented the closed process that prevents Democrats from offering amendments. "Half of the 165,265 total arrests were made by the federal government in fiscal 2014 - the most recent year for which statistics are available - were for immigration-related offenses, such as crossing the border illegally or smuggling others into the U.S". The Trump administration warned nine jurisdictions in late April that they could lose coveted law enforcement grant money unless they document cooperation.
"The ultimate experts on community safety are communities themselves, and hundreds of them have determined that as community trust increases, crime decreases", said Rep, John Conyers, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.