House Republicans are preparing to take up a pair of bills next week that crack down on illegal immigration, according to leadership sources, in a bid to carry out President Donald Trump's promise of tougher enforcement.
One of the bills to see a floor vote, dubbed Kate's Law, boosts penalties for immigrants who try to re-enter the United States after being deported. It is named after Kate Steinle, a young woman who was shot and killed in San Francisco by an immigrant who had been deported repeatedly yet returned. Trump frequently discussed the killing on the campaign trail last year.
The second is legislation that goes after so-called sanctuary cities — localities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, including by refusing to hold an immigrant in jail longer just so federal officials can pick him or her up to be deported. Sanctuary cities, usually liberal jurisdictions such as New York, have also been a major Trump target.
The "No Sanctuaries for Criminals Act" would toughen penalties for sanctuary cities in multiple ways. For example, it would require that cities and counties comply with orders from federal immigration officials, such as "detainers" that keep immigrants in jail so they can be picked up for deportation. It would also bar Homeland Security and Justice Department grants from sanctuary cities that don't comply.
No shocker here, especially since the reasoning behind the judiciary holding up Trump's sanctuary city punishment order was the legal argument that he was exceeding his authority under the laws Congress has passed. Simple solution: pass laws that give Trump the authority to do just that and render the argument moot.
Of course getting such a measure through the Senate may be a different matter, but for now, this is just the latest salvo in a a long, long battle.