By Alexa Archambault
The House of Representatives is set to vote Thursday afternoon on two key bills, Kate’s Law and No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, that will crack down on illegal immigration.
The White House and Republicans in Congress are standing united behind these efforts, a needed shift following a week of contentious health care debate amongst Senate Republicans.
Kate’s Law, named after Kate Steinle, a 32-year-old woman shot and killed by a previously deported illegal immigrant in 2015, makes any individual who is found in the U.S. after already being deported subject to a fine, jail time or both. Prison sentences can range from two to 25 years, depending on the severity of each person’s previous convictions.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act threatens to block sanctuary cities from receiving Department of Justice or Department of Homeland Security grant money, due to their noncompliance with federal immigration law.
“The two bills up for a vote this week … will help Immigration and Customs Enforcement uphold our nation’s immigration laws and help make our communities more safe,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said at a press conference. “President Trump has been clear that our borders are not open to illegal immigration. We are a nation of laws and we will no longer look the other way.”
“President Trump has been clear that our borders are not open to illegal immigration. We are a nation of laws and we will no longer look the other way,” he added.
Critics of this legislation, specifically the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, cite some law enforcement officers who claim that the cutoff of federal funding will weaken their communities and hinder their ability to fight crime.
“We’re making the streets safer and law enforcement knows it,” House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte said, responding to the criticism. “It’s a simple principle that if you’re going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government to keep people safe, you’ve got to follow the law.”
President Donald Trump expressed his support for the two bills via Twitter on Thursday.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also bolstered his confidence in the two pieces of legislation, stating that he is looking forward to their passage.
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