July 06, 2016

Crapo, Risch Vote to Strengthen Immigration Enforcement

Measures Support Law Enforcement, Restrict Funds from Going to â??Sanctuary Cities.â??

Washington - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch today voted to support two bills in the Senate that would strengthen immigration enforcement and protect Americans from those who illegally enter our nation with malicious intent or with criminal backgrounds.  The bills, one sponsored by Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) and the other, known as known as Kate's Law, sponsored by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), failed to receive enough votes to be taken up and considered by the Senate.

"The United States has a rich history of welcoming immigrants from all corners of the world, but we must ensure that we protect all Americans from those who enter our country with less than peaceful intentions.  We have a nation of laws and we must enact and enforce laws to stop violent offenders from entering our country," said Crapo.  "There should have been no question or delay in taking up these commonsense bills in order to protect American citizens.  Both of these bills strengthen immigration enforcement, support law enforcement, and stop providing funding to cities which will not cooperate with federal authorities while acting as 'sanctuary cities.'

"Laws exist to keep our families safe, and all Idahoans should be able to trust local governments to uphold the rule of law," said Risch. "Today, I supported two important pieces of legislation-the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, to cut off federal funds for cities that encourage illegal immigrants to seek refuge in their communities, and Kate's Law, to increase penalties for illegal immigrants who commit crimes when they reenter the United States. It is unacceptable that an estimated 350 cities across our nation are harboring illegal aliens, in complete violation of our immigration laws, and undermining the safety of our communities."

Senator Toomey's bill, the "Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act" was inspired by the death of Kate Steinle, who was shot and killed in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had previously been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times.  Three months before the shooting, the Department of Homeland Security had asked San Francisco police to hold Kate Steinle's would-be killer so that the department could take him in to custody.  The City of San Francisco refused to cooperate and instead released Steinle's killer in line with its sanctuary city policy.  The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act would deny certain federal funds from local jurisdictions that have implemented sanctuary policies and would better enable local law enforcement to do their jobs without fear of undue litigation liability, among other provisions.    

Kate's Law, introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and named for Kate Steinle, would increase penalties for repeat immigration offenders, including a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for any illegal immigrant who re-enters the United States after having been convicted of an aggravated felony or after having been twice convicted of illegally re-entering the United States. 

While both bills today received a majority vote in the Senate, both failed to reach a necessary 60 vote threshold under a process known as cloture, which formally ends debate on a measure.  Senator Toomey's bill received a vote of 53-44 and Kate's Law, a vote of 55-42.

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