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House Republicans Advance Trump’s Attack on Sanctuary Cities

House Republicans Advance Trump’s Attack on Sanctuary Cities

House Republicans passed Kate’s Law on Thursday, a bill that increases penalties for deported illegals who try to enter the United States a second time. 

The bill is named after Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco in 2015. The gunman, believed to be Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had 7 felony convictions and had been deported 5 times. 

Trump often mentioned Kate’s death during campaign speeches about illegal immigration. Kate’s Law passed with a vote of 257-157. If it passes through the Senate, this will be another promise kept by Trump.

The House also passed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act (228-195), which withholds certain federal grants to cities that continue to maintain sanctuary policies.

This translates to millions of dollars lost for cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, including money allocated for purposes like combating gangs, stopping terrorism, and preventing drug crimes. 

“For years, the lack of immigration enforcement and spread of sanctuary policies have cost too many lives,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who authored both bills. 

ICE has arrested over 60,000 individuals this year that were known or suspected to be in the US illegally. Of that number, over 45,000 were convicted criminal aliens. 

“The word ‘sanctuary’ calls to mind someplace safe, but too often for families and victims affected by illegal immigrant crime, sanctuary cities are anything but safe,” said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “It is beyond my comprehension why federal state and local officials…would actively discourage or outright prevent law enforcement agencies from upholding the laws of the United States.”

Democrats have been quick to criticize the Administration’s efforts to punish sanctuary cities as “anti-immigrant” and say Trump is using the issue as a scapegoat for other problems. 

The National Fraternal Order of Police argues that 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.”

The two bills could run into trouble in the Senate, where Republicans have just 52 seats and will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster. A similar version of Kate’s Law, introduced by Ted Cruz (R-TX), failed to pass through the Senate last year. 

“Opposing these bills, and allowing dangerous criminals back into your communities, our schools, and the neighborhoods where our children play, puts all of us at risk,” said Trump. “Now, that the House has acted, I urged the Senate to take up these bills, pass them, and send them to my desk.” 

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