Illegal immigrant crime became a central theme in candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This week, the House of Representatives takes steps to crack down with two key pieces of legislation.
Kate’s Law would increase penalties for criminal illegal aliens who attempt to re-enter the United States after deportation. The bill is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Thursday.
During his campaign, President Trump promised to ask Congress to pass Kate’s Law on his first day in office. The White House released a statement Tuesday strongly urging the Congress to pass the bill and declaring that President Trump would sign it in its current form.
The Administration strongly supports H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law. This bill commemorates Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed two years ago in San Francisco as she walked along a pier with her father. The alleged shooter, Francisco Sanchez, was an illegal immigrant who had already been deported five times and had seven felony convictions.
H.R. 3004 would increase the penalties that may be imposed on criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry, deterring reentry and keeping criminal aliens off our streets. The bill is consistent with the Administration’s broader efforts to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws and improve the security of our Nation’s borders.
If H.R. 3004 were presented to the President in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law.
The second piece of legislation, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, targets sanctuary cities that violate federal immigration policy. The bill would defund sanctuary jurisdictions by withholding Homeland Security and Justice Department grants from cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration law. It would also expand mandatory detention policies to cover illegal immigrants with D.U.I. violations and those who have had a visa revoked.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is sponsoring both pieces of legislation.
"The House Judiciary Committee is working to improve our nation’s immigration laws and policy, and today I have introduced two, straightforward bills to enhance public safety," Goodlatte said in a press release Friday. "We owe it to the families of those who lost loved ones to take action to prevent these horrible crimes. They have waited far too long.”
House Democrats are opposed to both bills, but according to The Hill, Democratic leadership is going easier on Kate’s Law. The “public’s perception of allowing people to come back in, commit crimes and not have a more serious sentence” might harm vulnerable Democrats during election season, said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
While both bills are likely to pass in the House, it is unclear what fate awaits this legislation in the U.S. Senate.
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