Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is slamming sanctuary cities and the Obama administration’s immigration policies as responsible factors contributing to the death of Kate Steinle and others at the hands of illegal immigrants.
“Indeed, if not for sanctuary cities and the Obama administration’s continued destruction in other areas of immigration enforcement, Kate and others surely would be alive today,” Sessions said on the Senate floor. “Her death could have been prevented. But the extreme open borders ideology that rejects even the deportation of criminals — that is, people who commit other crimes than the crime of entering the country illegally — has led to her death, as it has led to the death of many others.”
Steinle was murdered on a San Francisco pier, allegedly by a multiple-deportee, multiple-felon illegal immigrant who had been released by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department less than three months earlier due to the city’s sanctuary city policies.
Sessions, who has been at the forefront of sounding the alarm at the Obama administration’s dismantling of immigration enforcement, argued that the administration has “allowed sanctuary cities to flourish” and emboldened them with its lack of enforcement.
“While the administration has taken legal action against state and local jurisdictions that have simply attempted to help the federal government to enforce immigration laws, they’ve sued them to block their efforts to enforce the law or help the federal government enforce the law,” Sessions noted.
“In 2010, the federal government openly announced that it would not undertake any legal action against sanctuary jurisdictions for refusing to cooperate with the enforcement of our immigration laws,” Sessions said. “Thus, while they had time and resources to sue states like Arizona and litigate such cases all the way to the Supreme Court, this administration has not spent anytime to take similar actions against sanctuary jurisdictions around the country. And the administration was well aware of the dangers posed by these policies.”
He further took on the White House’s argument that Congress simply should have passed the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill.
“The Gang of Eight bill that the president pushed so hard for would have dramatically increased incidence of criminal alien violence, officially legalizing dangerous offenders while handcuffing immigration officers from doing their jobs. Professionals told us the Gang of Eight bill would have undermined the rule of law in America. Not strengthened it,” he said.
Sessions also recounted the myriad criminal immigrant releases by the Obama administration and how many become repeat offenders. He stressed that there is no acceptable number of crimes an illegal immigrant can commit, except zero.
“So it’s time to get our priorities straight. We need immigration reform, all right, but reform that serves the interests of the American people, not international corporations, not international — not anti-enforcement zealots, not open borders lobby,” he said. “They don’t get to dictate to America how laws should be enforced. Immigration reform should mean improving immigration controls, not further weakening or eliminating them.”
Sessions highlighted his recently introduced bill named after two local law enforcement officers murdered by an illegal immigrant with a criminal record who had already been deported twice — Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Danny Oliver. The bill, Sessions explained, would strengthen immigration enforcement in addition to targeting sanctuary jurisdictions by withholding federal funding.
“It’s time for Congress to make its first item of business the immediate passage of legislation to cut off federal law enforcement moneys to sanctuary cities. Not one more parent, not one parent should lose a son or daughter because American cities are harboring criminals,” he said.
Additionally Sessions offered a list of items Congress must move on to serve the interests of the American people including: ending the release of criminal immigrants, halting visas for countries that do not take back their nationals, suspending visas for countries with high overstay rates, closing asylum loopholes and eliminating fraud, ending catch and release at the border with mandatory detention, protecting workers with E-Verify, as well as implementing visa policies that serve American workers.