Indiana Rep. Todd Rokita is working on legislation that would punish elected officials who are found to be sheltering illegal immigrants from deportation.
The bill follows the “not guilty” verdict of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the illegal immigrant who shot and killed Kate Steinle in San Francisco in 2015.
Zarate’s defense team argued that he picked up a stolen gun and the weapon “just fired.” The bullet allegedly bounced off the ground before striking Steinle.
Rokita and others have blamed Steinle’s death on the sanctuary policies that allowed Zarate to walk free despite a request for his deportation. Zarate has multiple felony convictions and is currently being held in advance of his fifth deportation from the US.
President Trump called the verdict a “complete travesty of justice,” and AG Jeff Sessions has blamed San Francisco’s “decision to protect criminal aliens” for the “preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle.”
“Politicians don’t get to pick and choose what laws to comply with,” argues Rokita. “Americans are dying because politicians sworn to uphold the law refuse to do so.”
Rokita’s Stopping Lawless Actions of Politicians (SLAP) Act would hold lawmakers accountable for their refusal to comply with federal immigration law. Violators would be subject to fines of up to $1 million and five years in jail.
SLAP is one of the most aggressive pieces of legislation to date aimed at sanctuary cities, going far beyond the Trump Administration’s threat to cut off federal funding to those cities.
“It’s time the federal government gets serious about enforcing immigration laws and holding politicians accountable who conspire to break them,” says Rokita.
The introduction of the bill may coincide with the recent decision to withdraw from UN negotiations on forming a Global Compact on Migration. Washington has justified the withdrawal by citing America’s sovereign right to secure its borders.