House Passes ‘Kate’s Law,’ Sanctuary City, Immigration Reforms
The House passed two immigration reforms today, marking a first big step towards a pro-American national immigration policy, despite strong Democratic opposition.
President Donald Trump applauded the two votes:
During my campaign, I met many grieving families who all had the same plea: lawmakers must put the safety of American families first. Today, I applaud the House for passing two crucial measures to save and protect American lives. These were bills I campaigned on and that are vital to our public safety and national security. The first bill, Kate’s Law, increases criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who repeatedly re-enter the country illegally. The bill is named for Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. Every year, countless Americans are victimized, assaulted, and killed by illegal immigrants who have been deported multiple times. It is time for these tragedies to end.
The second bill, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, restricts taxpayer grant money to cities that prevent their police from turning over dangerous criminal aliens to federal authorities. Sanctuary cities are releasing violent criminals, including members of the bloodthirsty MS-13 gang, back onto our streets every single day. Innocent Americans are suffering unthinkable violence as a result of these cities’ reckless actions. The House bill also includes what is known as Grant’s Law and Sarah’s Law. These provisions, which prevent the release of dangerous criminals awaiting removal proceedings, are named for two slain Americans whose parents I spent time with during the campaign.
The implementation of these policies will make our communities safer. Opposing these bills, and allowing dangerous criminals back into our communities, our schools, and the neighborhoods where our children play, puts all of us at risk.
Now that the House has acted, I urged the Senate to take up these bills, pass them, and send them to my desk. I am calling on all lawmakers to vote for these bills and to save American lives.
The two bills are wins for Trump, who has pushed for their passage:
Nearly all Democrats opposed the bills, nearly all Republicans supported the bills.
According to the record, 24 Democrats voted for Kate’s law, three Democrats voted for the no sanctuary law.
Six Republicans voted against the sanctuary law and one voted against Kate’s law. Democrats applauded Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash for voting against both reform bills.
Amash did not post an explanation, except for this comment on his Twitter account.
California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa touted passage of the bills:
Fixing our broken immigration system starts by securing our border and enforcing our laws … Two years ago, Kate Steinle died needlessly at the hands of a criminal alien repeatedly deported and convicted of numerous felonies. Her death is made all the more devastating given how preventable it was, had our immigration laws been enforced. Sanctuary policies send a message that, in some of our communities, federal law can be ignored without penalty, and only make our broken immigration system even worse. Unfortunately, California has chosen to go down a path of seeking to ignore federal law, which I fear would further endanger law-abiding citizens like Kate. Passing these bills will help prevent future tragedies and take an important step in making our communities safer.
Immigration reform groups, including NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, are also rallying Americans to pressure GOP and Democratic legislators for additional legislation, such as the Davis-Oliver bill, and for passage of the bills through the Senate.
“From This Root, Justice Will Grow”
For years, people have heard me say that “I want to rip Obamacare out by the roots as if such act had never been enacted.”
Well, today, the House of Representatives took a step towards placing a Root in the law. A Root named Sarah. By passing “Sarah’s Law,” a law I wrote in honor of Iowan Sarah Root, the House has enhanced the government’s ability to keep dangerous illegal aliens locked up and off of our streets.
And I am confident that from this Root, Justice will grow.
Sarah Root was a beautiful young woman and an exceptional student. She graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in Criminal Investigation. She had her entire life in front of her: a life that was to be dedicated to preserving the Rule of Law.
But all of that ended on the night of January 31, 2016, when an illegal alien killed her. Sarah had been celebrating her recent college graduation with friends. As she was driving home, her car was violently rear-ended by a drunken illegal alien involved in a street race. The illegal alien, who had a history of prior encounters with law enforcement, had a blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit.
The impact of the collision left Sarah unrecognizable. Her parents, Michelle and Scott, were only able to identify their daughter through her “Live, Laugh, Love” tattoo. Her organs were donated, and subsequently led to saving six people’s lives. I often wear a “Sarah Saved Six” bracelet to honor her memory.
Since that terrible January night, I have gotten to know Michelle and Scott Root and their only remaining child, Scott Jr. They are terrific people who, like so many other American families that are victims of illegal alien crime, have had to suffer a terrible, inconceivably painful loss. They are not just constituents to me. Over time they have become friends.
But they are also more than that. They are the embodiment of why I have spent 15 years in Congress championing the need for greater enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws. No American should have to wake up in the early morning hours, as Michelle and Scott Root did, to confront the loss of a loved one at the hands of an illegal alien. These crimes are 100% preventable. These crimes most assuredly are not “accidents,” and it is offensive for anyone to suggest they are. If Sarah Root’s killer had not been in the country illegally, or if he had been locked up behind bars until he could be deported, Sarah Root would be alive today.
Often, mine was a lonely voice. In 2006, ten long years before President Trump made the promise to “Build The Wall” the core of his successful presidential campaign, I was on the floor of the House of Representatives with blueprints for an ocean-to-ocean border wall and a scale model of my own. Over the past decade, I’ve taken numerous trips to our Southern Border to see for myself what is, and isn’t, being done to secure our country. I’ve worked with the Border Patrol, and I have great respect for them and for the men and women who serve as ICE agents. We need at least 10,000 more. I’ve passed numerous amendments designed to strengthen the nation’s ability to secure our borders and enforce our laws.
All of a sudden, though, my lonely voice calling for stricter immigration laws and tighter border controls is being joined by others in Congress who are singing from the same hymnal. President Trump deserves credit for driving this change. His focus on cracking down on illegal immigration has begun to win over growing number of Congressional converts to my career defining cause.
I welcome these new voices.
Because enforcing our laws and breathing life into the concept that we are a nation governed by the Rule of Law is what Americans want Congress to spend its time on. We don’t need to be distracted by fake news stories about the latest supposed outrage ginned up by cable news in their never-ending quest for ratings. Instead, we need to be taking action that will help ensure that Americans like Sarah Root aren’t needlessly cut down in their prime. Sarah deserves to be more than just some statistic in an unread FBI Crime Report. She was a living, breathing, exceptional person who could, and most likely would, have made significant contributions to her community and her country.
But, because we don’t vigorously enforce our immigration laws, Sarah wasn’t given the chance to do so.
This has to end.
We can no longer be a nation that, as happened during the failed presidency of Barack Obama, decides to abuse “prosecutorial discretion” to turn a blind eye to crimes committed by illegal aliens. We can no longer be a nation that allows one political party to prioritize supplementing its dwindling ranks through the importation of new voters over protecting the lives of Americans and safeguarding our nation.
Thankfully, the House of Representatives shares my long-held concerns and is beginning to act on them. The House passed three serious pieces of enforcement legislation this week, all of which bear my name. One bill will deny federal funds to sanctuary cities, a change I have been pushing for since 2005 when the House passed my amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act denying funds to cities enacting sanctuary policies. This bill will also allow illegal aliens convicted of drunk driving to be held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The second bill, named “Kate’s Law” in honor of Kate Steinle, will provide judges with the ability to increase the length of prison sentences for illegal aliens who re-enter the country illegally.
And, finally, there is “Sarah’s Law.” This legislation, which I first introduced on July 7, 2016, requires ICE to take custody of illegal aliens charged in the United States with a crime resulting in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.
If we had tougher immigration laws on the books, and we made enforcing them a priority, we would be discussing Sarah Root for her investigations of violations of the law, rather than discussing her as a potential provision in the law.
From this Root, Justice will grow. Congress should send my bills to President Trump for his signature.
Congressman Steve King, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, represents Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. King introduced H.R. 3003, the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act” which contains “Sarah’s Law” and H.R. 3004,“Kate’s Law.”
The reformed Department of Homeland Security has arrested nearly 66,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, Secretary John Kelly declared Thursday at a press event intended to tout GOP progress against illegal immigration.
The 66,000 arrested since January include 48,000 convicted criminals, he said. “Many of the rest are charged with crimes, often multiple ones, or had gang affiliations,” Kelly said.
But Kelly also slammed congressional legislators who are quietly trying to roll back enforcement of the popular immigration laws, saying:
DHS does not make the laws. Congress does, and we will enforce the laws that are passed by Congress, and I am offended when members of this institution [the House of Representatives] exert pressure and often threaten me and my officers to ignore the laws they make and I am sworn to uphold.
Kelly did not name any of the legislators whom he said are trying to restrict DHS enforcement operations.
Kelly’s strongly worded statements came during a press conference to tout the GOP’s mixed record on immigration reform and enforcement, and to boost two modest immigration reform bills, which are scheduled for a vote on Thursday. “We are doing two important promises on immigration today,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told the press conference.
The two pending bills — dubbed “Kate’s Law” and the “No Sanctuaries for Criminals Act” — raise possible jail penalties for illegal immigrants who repeatedly return to the United States, and allow federal officials additional legal authority to cut off some categories of federals funds to the cities and state which refuse to let federal officers arrest illegal immigrants held in local jailhouses.
However, the business-backed GOP leadership has been slow to push pro-American immigration reforms. For example, the two new bills were pulled from a comprehensive reform, the Davis-Oliver Act, which has now been sidelined.
Also, Ryan and other leaders have done little or nothing to overcome determined Democratic opposition to building President Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall. GO leaders have pressured Kelly to allow companies to import even more ‘H-2B visa‘ foreign workers to replace blue-collar Americans.
This summer and fall, Trump’ and his deputies are expected to ratchet up pressure on Republicans and Democrats in Congress to allow border-wall construction to begin later this year, with a goal of building roughly 60 miles of wall during 2018.
Immigration reform groups, including NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, are also rallying Americans to pressure GOP and Democratic legislators.
Democrats are pushing to limit funds for the arrest and repatriation of illegal immigrants, even though Kelly’s arrest of 66,000 illegals is only half of one percent of all illegals living in the United States. So far, Kelly’s DHS is repatriating only illegals who have broken criminal laws and is largely ignoring the many illegals working in meatpacking plants, factories, and other workplaces.
Democrats also argue that cities and state have a right and duty to resist federal enforcement of immigration laws in their jurisdictions.
Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House judiciary committee, said “overwhelming number of law enforcement officers want to have good cooperation, good working relationships between federal, state and local law enforcement … it is a simple principle – that if you are going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government to keep people safe, then you’ve got to follow the law and keep them safe.”
Outside Washington, state and local officials are creating “so-called sanctuary cities” which threaten public safety, Kelly said. “Politicians have chosen politics … over public safety,” he said.
According to Kelly:
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. Instead, these cities are places that allow some criminals go free, undermine federal law enforcement nd make our communities less safe. When a sanctuary jurisdiction fails to honore an ICE detainer and instead releases a criminal back to the streets, it does not mean ICE stops looking for the bad guy. Instead it means that ICE has to take its targeted operations out of the safe, secure and private confines of a jail, and go into neighborhoods, business, and other public places. That is infinitely more dangerous for the law-abiding public and for my ICE officers [and] it creates unneccesary and avoidable anxiety for many in the legal immigrant community. Arresting a criminal while they are still in custody is always, always, the best option.
Additionally, failing to honor an ICE detainer means these criminals are out on the street that much longer. Whether that is days or weeks or months, a criminal is back on the street and oftentimes breaking our laws again. It is beyond my comprehension why state and local officials sworn to enforce the laws of the nation — as I am — would actively discourage or outright prevent law-enforcement agencies from upholding the laws of the United States, and they would set public funds aside to pay for the legal protection of illegal aliens who are also lawbreakers. In doing so, they prioritize criminals over the public and law-enforcement officer safety.
For background on the sidelined Davis-Oliver bill, read here.
Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the same polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale legal immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children.
This current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and stock values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, and sidelines marginalized Americans and their families.