The House passed legislation that would toughen mandatory sentences for immigrants who are caught trying to re-enter the country illegally after being deported. The legislation, dubbed "Kate's Law" was named in memoriam of Kate Steinle, who was allegedly killed in 2015 by an undocumented immigrant. In addition, the House passed a second bill entitled, "The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," as a way to crack down on sanctuary cities. This means that the Department of Justice would cut federal grants to cities that fail to enforce federal immigration policies.
Lawmakers in the House will vote Thursday on two bills that could impact the immigrant community for generations to come.
The first bill calls for cutting off some federal funding to state and local governments that have "sanctuary" policies. The second bill, known as "Kate's Law" calls for increased criminal penalties for those who have been deported from the U.S. and try to re-enter illegally.
"Kate's Law" refers to Kathryn Steinle, 32, who was shot and killed two years ago in San Francisco by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a convicted felon who was repeatedly deported to Mexico in the U.S. Lopez-Sanchez admitted to firing the gun, but claimed Steinle's death was accidental.
Lopez Sanchez was charged with first-degree murder but pleaded not guilty to the charge. Sanchez faces a possible life sentence without the possibility of parole for 45 years.
Many Democrats have spoken out against these bills. Luis Guiterrez (D-IL) has been an outspoken advocate on the issue.
"These two measures will undercut law enforcement’s ability to keep communities safe, undermine Constitutional protections, and criminalize immigrants," Gutierrez said in a statement. "These two bills won’t make our neighborhoods safer -- in fact, they will jeopardize national security, undermine the Constitution, and threaten public safety."
According to The HIll, House Democratic leaders will encourage their colleagues to vote "no" on the bill that limits funding for sanctuary cities, but there is not a general concensus on how the party will vote on "Kate's Law." Supporters of the bill say it will help law enforcement with immigration procedures. President Trump gave his support and said he would sign the bill into law if passed in its current state.
"This bill would ensure that American taxpayers are not subsidizing States and localities that work to affirmatively thwart Federal law enforcement efforts," Trump said in a statement.
"Kate's Law" has its supporters online.