Republican Congress Votes To Punish Sanctuary Cities
The House voted to deny federal funds to sanctuary cities.
The bill, passed 241-179, would withhold certain federal law enforcement grants to cities that have policies designed to shelter illegal immigrants from deportation.
Sanctuary cities have come under heavy scrutiny in the wake of Kathryn Steinle’s death on July 1 in San Francisco. Authorities charged Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez with her killing. Lopez-Sanchez, who is in the U.S. illegally, has a history of felony convictions and has been deported five times.
Critics of the sanctuary laws say such policies encourage people to immigrate to the U.S. illegally at the expense of citizens.
“A refuge for whom? A sanctuary for whom?” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said. “A sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Or a refuge for a convicted felon with a 25-year-long criminal history?”
Democrats accused House Republicans of bringing up the bill in part because of real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s focus on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities; they dubbed the bill the “Donald Trump Act.”
…Five Republicans joined all but six Democrats in opposing the measure.
The five Republicans who voted against the bill were Reps. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Pete King (N.Y.) and Dave Reichert (Wash.).
Six Democrats voted for the bill, in a break from previous immigration votes in which the party voted unanimously. The Democrats voting yes were centrist Reps. Ami Bera (Calif.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Bill Keating (Mass.), Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).
The sanctuary city debate centers on laws that are aimed at encouraging illegal immigrants to report crimes to the police without fear of deportation.