By Mike Lillis
June 27, 2017
House Democratic leaders will encourage their troops to oppose the Republicans’s crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities this week, but members will face no similar pressure on “Kate’s Law,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.
“Kate’s Law is a little more complicated,” Hoyer, the Democratic whip, told reporters in the Capitol.
“I’m advising members to look at it carefully and see what their conclusion is.”
The suspect in the case, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, had seven previous felony convictions and had been deported to Mexico on five previous occasions.
On the campaign trail, President Trump had invoked the shooting in promoting his law-and-order approach to immigration reform. And House Republicans are hoping to provide an assist this week when the bill hits the floor, likely on Friday.
Hoyer said the GOP proposal has flaws — particularly as it relates to those immigrants seeking asylum — and he lamented the closed process that prevents Democrats from offering amendments.
But the emotional forces underlying the Steinle tragedy — and others like it — have convinced Democratic leaders not to whip against the bill, Hoyer said. He suggested the “public’s perception of allowing people to come back in, commit crimes and not have a more serious sentence” could harm vulnerable Democrats.
“You talk to the families who have been adversely affected by that, it is a wrenching experience,” he said.
“Members believe that that’s pretty serious business. I agree with that.”
The Republicans’ sanctuary cities bill is another story: Democrats will whip against the proposal, Hoyer said.
Also sponsored by Goodlatte, the legislation would withhold certain federal grants from states, cities and law enforcement agencies that refuse to cooperate with federal officials in the detention or transfer of undocumented criminals.
That bill would also require undocumented immigrants convicted of drunk driving or arrested for “a particularly serious crime” to be detained while they go through the deportation process.
Supporters of the bill contend the changes are needed to help federal immigration officers enforce the law.
Hoyer and most Democrats disagree, arguing that the sanctuary laws are necessary to foster trust between local police and members of the community who might otherwise be wary of cooperating with law enforcers for fear of being deported.
“If you have crime, and people who are victims of crime are afraid to come forward and report that, then law enforcement believes it is undermining its ability to keep safe neighborhoods and safe communities,” Hoyer said.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com