But fate in Senate uncertain.
The House passed two bills today: One is known as Kate’s Law that increases penalties for illegal immigrants who keep trying to re-enter the United States, especially those who have criminal records. The second denies federal grants to sanctuary cities. From Fox News:
Kate’s Law is named for Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman killed by an illegal immigrant who was in the U.S. despite multiple deportations. The two-year anniversary of her death is on Saturday.
President Trump called the bill’s passage “good news” in a tweet, adding “House just passed #KatesLaw. Hopefully Senate will follow.”
“He should not have been here, and she should not have died,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday, in a final push for Kate’s Law, an earlier version of which was blocked in the Senate last year.
“Our job here is to make sure that those professionals have the tools that they need and the resources that they need to carry out their work and to protect our communities. That is what these measures are all about,” added Ryan.
The U.S. already deported Steinle’s alleged shooter Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez five times. He also has seven felony convictions.
President Donald Trump often made time for other families who lost loved ones to illegal immigrants when he was on the campaign trail. He reminded everyone of some of those families on Wednesday:
On Wednesday, President Trump highlighted other cases during a White House meeting with more than a dozen families of people who had been victimized by illegal immigrants, including Jamiel Shaw Sr.
Shaw’s 17-year-old son Jamiel was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in California in March 2008..
“He was living the dream,” Shaw said during the meeting. “That was squashed out.”
Kate’s murder brought sanctuary cities to the forefront. These are cities that provide a safe haven for illegal immigrants. Yes, San Francisco is one of them. The “No Sanctuary for Criminals Acts” means those states and cities will not receive federal grants as long as they “refuse to cooperate with law enforcement carrying out immigration enforcement activities.”
Kate’s Law in the Senate
However, before the bills go to Trump, the Senate needs to approve them. That may not happen. From CNN:
Kate’s Law has been introduced before and failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate last year. It did pick up three Democratic votes — Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — but to pass the Senate, Republicans would need five more Democrats to join all Republicans in voting yes.
Other red-state Democrats have already voted against the bill. The sanctuary cities bill could garner even less support, as lawmakers protest the cuts in law enforcement funding.
And Emily Jashinsky at The Washington Examiner thinks either one will not easily pass through the Senate:
Democrats are under pressure to distance themselves from his agenda at all costs or risk an onslaught of attacks from progressives unbothered by the task of slamming them for cooperating with President Trump on any policies. In that environment, it makes it difficult to imagine any additional Democrats shifting to side with Republicans.
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.
Still, Democrats won’t apply a full-court press as they whip against “Kate’s Law,” given the emotional forces underlying the Steinle tragedy and others like it.
Hoyer suggested the “public’s perception of allowing people to come back in, commit crimes and not have a more serious sentence” could harm vulnerable Democrats.
“You talk to the families who have been adversely affected by that, it is a wrenching experience,” he said Tuesday morning.
“Members believe that that’s pretty serious business, [and] I agree with that.”
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