Under Republican leadership – and a majority – the House of Representatives passes 2 bills to penalize undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities.
The bill passed by the house known as ‘Kate’s Law’ was enacted today. This bill would enhance penalties for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the United States illegally. It was first introduced in 2015, but it failed to advance in the Senate. It still faces a battle in the senate.
The legislation is popular and was named for 32 year old Kate Steinle. Ms. Steinle and her father were walking in San Francisco when they heard a shot. Ms. Steinle had been shot and killed by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez a Mexican National with 7 felony convictions and 5 deportations. Lopez-Sanchez had just finished serving a 4 year conviction for illegal entry into the United States.
Local officials had released him although federal immigration officials had asked to keep in him in custody due to his undocumented status and an outstanding warrant. He was released due to the fact the warrant was for marijuana related charges which are no longer considered illegal.
‘Kate’s Law’ (HR 3004) will toughen the punishment for illegal immigrants who enter the country. It also gives judges more power over detainment. “He shouldn’t have been in the country and Kate shouldn’t be dead,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement during his press conference on Thursday. “Sanctuary cities are putting lives at risk and we cannot tolerate that.”
This law is not to be confused with The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (H.R. 3003). This act would bar federal grants from sanctuary cities and allow victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to sue those cities. It also passed, and both bills are headed to the Senate.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and many civil rights groups have opposed the law. They say it is short sighted and ill-conceived. They feel that the bill has the ability to penalize anyone who comes to the United States illegally – which includes individuals who flee to escape persecution. Others believe that the bill increases the attitude that illegal immigrants are criminals.
According to The Hill, 24 Democrats voted for ‘Kates Law” and 1 Republican voted against it. Trump, earlier on Thursday, called the two immigration bills “vital to public safety and national security.”