Posted: 5:24 pm Thursday, June 29th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
With the strong backing of President Donald Trump, the House on Thursday approved two bills to toughen federal laws dealing with illegal immigration, stiffening penalties for people who re-enter the U.S. illegally after being deported, and withholding federal grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities,” which protect people from immigration agents.
“It is time to put the safety of AMERICANS before the comfort of criminal aliens,” the President said on social media.
The House voted along party lines to approve extra penalties for sanctuary cities; the vote was 228-195.
One of the bills was named after Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant who had been arrested and deported five different times, would increase the penalties for illegally re-entering the United States. That drew the support of two dozen Democrats, and was approved 257-167.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). “Kate Steinle deserved to feel safe when she was walking down the pier” in San Francisco, when she was killed.
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) June 29, 2017
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act keeps dangerous criminal immigrants off our streets and out of our neighborhoods https://t.co/6VfR3Iy7ni
— Lamar Smith (@LamarSmithTX21) June 29, 2017
Democrats argued in vain against the measures.
“What a way to leave for a July Fourth from a Congress that has accomplished practically nothing,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX).
“I want to make it very clear,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY). “Immigrants and criminals are not synonyms.”
It was not clear how the measures would fare in the Senate, or when GOP leaders would move to bring them up on the floor.
Good news, House just passed #KatesLaw. Hopefully Senate will follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
The House and the Senate currently only have three weeks of scheduled legislative meetings in July, ready to start a five week summer break on July 28, which would last until after Labor Day.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.