June 27, 2017

No Sanctuary for Criminals Act Introduced in The House

This act would require that cities and counties comply with federal immigration orders, such as detainers, that keep immigrants in jail to be picked up for deportation.

by Caitlin Martin

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Sanctuary Cities — Illustration Credit: Burzum

H.R. 3003 — No Sanctuary for Criminals Act

H.R. 3003, No Sanctuary for Criminals Act was introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). This act creates harsher penalties for sanctuary cities. It would require that cities and counties comply with federal immigration orders, such as detainers, that keep immigrants in jail to be picked up for deportation. The bill also expands mandatory detention policies to include immigrants with revoked visas and those with drunk driving arrests.

Sanctuary cities (also called sanctuary jurisdictions) are states or localities that prohibit their law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration officials. The Department of Homeland Security would create a list of jurisdictions that met this definition and make it publicly available. Federal grant funding for law enforcement would be withheld from sanctuary cities and made available to other places that allow cooperation with federal immigration officials.

The bill gives local law enforcement the explicit legal authority to cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Those in Favor

The bill has three co-sponsors — all Republican:

  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

In his Executive Order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the President vowed that:

“… we will end the sanctuary cities that have resulted in so many needless deaths. Cities that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will not receive taxpayer dollars.”

Read more from those in favor.

Those Opposed

There are more than 200 states and localities across the U.S. that do not honor detention requests from ICE. Leaders in these localities have vowed to uphold their sanctuary status, despite the Administration’s threat to eliminate funding. Read more here:

'Sanctuary cities' vow to resist Trump order despite funding threat

H.R. 3004 and S. 45 — Kate’s Law

H.R. 3004 — Kate’s Law is a bill sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), also known as the Establishing Mandatory Minimums for Illegal Reentry Act of 2015. Republicans first tried to get the law passed in 2015, but it was blocked by Senate Democrats. S. 45 is the companion law in the Senate, sponsored by Rep. Ted Cruz (R-TX). The law came from a proposal suggested by Ms. Steinle’s parents and was boosted by the host of “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Who’s Kate?

Kate’s Law is named for Kate Steinle, a woman was was killed on July 1, 2015 on Pier 14 in San Francisco. She was shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a Mexican citizen who was in the U.S. illegally. Mr. Lopez-Sanchez was also a convicted felon. Since San Francisco is also a sanctuary city, there was an outcry against the city’s policy. Mr. Lopez-Sanchez admitted that he fired the gun, but claimed that Ms. Steinle was not the target, but that the shooting was accidental. The incident also led to broad calls for a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years for any person who returns to the U.S. after having been deported for a previous illegal entry. Currently, undocumented immigrants currently spend 15–18 months in prison prior to deportation. This law would increase their prison stay by 30%.

Those in Favor

In its current form, Kate’s Law has 2 Republican co-sponsors:

  • Steve King (R-IA)
  • Pete Sessions (R-TX)

The previous version, introduced in 2015 was sponsored by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) and had 45 co-sponsors, all Republicans. The Senate version of the bill has 12 co-sponsors, all Republican. Ms. Steinle’s parents are supporters of the law. In an interview on “The O’Reilly Factor” in 2015, Jim Steinle (Ms. Steinle’s father) said:

“We feel the federal, state and cities, their laws are here to protect us, but we feel that this particular set of circumstances and the people involved, the different agencies let us down.”

Ms. Steinle’s mother said she wanted some good to come out of her daughter’s death:

“You want to make it so much better for everybody in the United States that this, as you say, would never happen again.” —Liz Sullivan

Read more about the law’s support here:

Voters Favor 'Kate's Law' Sentences for Illegal Immigrant Felons

Those Opposed

The bill’s opposition argue the mandatory minimums have not made us safer, but have driven up mass incarceration throughout the U.S. Families Against Mandatory Minimums argue that the law would increase the federal prison population significantly — the current federal prison population is at 116% of capacity; under the new law, this population could grow by up to 57,000 people and would require the building of at least 30 new prisons over the next five years at a cost of about $9.45 billion. FAMM estimates the cost to taxpayers for feeding, clothing, and housing these new prisoners for the additional time would be about $1.775 billion per year — more than one third of the money we spend to fight terrorism. Lastly, they argue that there is no evidence that such action would improve America’s immigration problems. You can read more from FAMM here:

FAMM - " H.R. 361 / S. 45, Kate's Law

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