Senate Democrats, undeterred by the vicious murder last year of Kate Steinle by a five-times deported illegal immigrant, blocked the Senate from conducting procedural motions to begin debate on two bills addressing the dangers of sanctuary cities and repeat illegal immigrants.
One bill, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 3100), sponsored by Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., would define a “sanctuary city” as any state-level jurisdiction that fails to communicate with federal immigration officers or comply with a detainer request, as NumbersUSA reports. That bill would prevent jurisdictions from gaining community and economic development grants if they did not communicate with federal immigration officers or comply with a detainer request.
The other bill, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, the Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, (S. 2193), would raise mandatory minimum sentences for immigrants who had been convicted of repeated attempts to enter the United States illegally.
Both bills needed 60 votes on cloture to begin debate. S. 3100 was only able to gather 53 votes; S. 2193 gathered 54.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “Senator Toomey’s bill would support jurisdictions that cooperate with federal law enforcement officials and redirect funds to them from those places that would refuse to do so. It would also support law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every single day, protecting them from having to live in constant fear of being sued for simply doing their jobs … No wonder this bill has such broad support from the law enforcement community, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations.”
Senator Toomey’s bill in conjunction with Senator Cruz’s bill aims to prevent more families from experiencing the heartache that Kate Steinle’s family has been forced to endure. It’s been a year since Kate was tragically murdered in San Francisco by a convicted felon who had been deported five times. What makes this tragedy even more heartbreaking is that it could have been prevented, but San Francisco had an extreme so-called sanctuary city policy of not complying with federal immigration laws, apparently, even when it came to detaining dangerous criminals residing in our country illegally… Americans from both parties know it would be incredibly dishonest to pretend this bill was aimed at law-abiding immigrants who enrich our country rather than who it is really aimed at – those who come to this country illegally and have criminal convictions. Americans from both parties also understand that extreme sanctuary city policies can inflict incredible pain on innocent victims and their families.
Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid blustered, “Senator Toomey’s bill will undermine the ability of local law enforcement to police their own communities to ensure public safety. It would deny millions of dollars of critical community and economic development funding to cities and states that refuse to target immigrant families,” adding that Cruz’s bill “would enact unnecessary mandatory minimum sentences. It would cost billions, billions of new dollars, increase the prison population and siphon funding from state and local law enforcement. Worst of all, this sort of partisan piecemeal approach undermines bipartisan efforts to enact badly needed reforms on our criminal justice system.”
Reid was incorrect about Cruz’s bill when he suggested it would target community policing grants.