Two House Bills Crack Down on Illegal Immigrants

There will soon be two important House votes on bills aimed at cracking on those who commit crimes and cities that refuse to help deport them.1

The first bill is known as “Kate’s Law” and is named after Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old woman who was shot and killed in 2015 by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times.2 The bill increases penalties for convicted and deported criminals who reenter the United States illegally.3 The other bill, called the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would bar some federal grants from so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement authorities and allow victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants to sue those cities.4

House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “This is about protecting law-abiding citizens and getting criminals off our streets, plain and simple.”5

But many House conservatives are frustrated that it took so long to get any immigration bills onto the House floor and why a far-reaching immigration bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee in March was not being voted on.6 Democrats, rather than thinking the bills are not thorough, believe the bills are mean-spirited and would harm undocumented but otherwise law-abiding immigrants.7

The House bills have little chance of success in the Senate, where Republicans have only 52 seats and need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.8

Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, “It sends a message to the judicial branch, to the judges that the more that these people commit crimes in their communities, the more often they come back, the more serious the penalties will be.”9

An American Civil Liberties Union official said the House bills are “riddled with constitutional violations that completely disregard the civil and human rights of immigrants.”10


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