House Passes Tough-On-Immigration Measures

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Sanctuary cities would have a tougher time protecting undocumented immigrants. Immigrants who try to re-enter the U.S. illegally would find stiffer punishment. That’s the sort of get-tough-on-immigration policies President Trump has eagerly sought, and yesterday, the House went along, largely on party line votes, McClatchy Newspapers reports. It approved two measures to implement his plan; the bills now go to the Senate, where they appear in for a tougher time. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has worked to fashion a bipartisan compromise on immigration, said he had “no idea” of the bills’ prospects.

Trump and most Republicans have argued that cities allowing sanctuary status should see their federal grant dollars restricted. Democrats counter that local law enforcement agencies have enough to do without having to become federal immigration agents. One House bill, Kate’s Law, was approved, 257 to 167. It would increase prison sentences for illegal immigrants who reenter the country after being deported. The legislation is named after 32-year-old Kate Steinle who was killed two years ago in San Francisco by undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Sanchez-Lopez. The sanctuary cities measure passed, 228 to 195. The bill compels cities to cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement by withholding federal grants from jurisdictions that fail to respond to detainer requests. Detainer requests give ICE clearance to pick up undocumented immigrants from local jails and bring them into federal custody for questioning and potential deportation.

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