Senate Democrats successfully blocked legislation to crack down on sanctuary cities and illegal immigrants who re-enter the United States.
Wednesday, the Senate voted 53-44 on Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act” and 55-42 on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) “Kate’s Law.” Each bill needed 60 votes to advance.
Both bills were inspired by the murder of Kathryn Steinle, who was killed a year ago by a five-time deported illegal immigrant a long felony rap sheet. Steinle’s killer had been in police custody but was released months before her death due San Francisco’s sanctuary policy of ignoring immigration detainers. The murder sparked a national outcry over sanctuary cities and criminal aliens in the U.S.
Toomey’s legislation would have withheld certain federal funds from jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials, also known as sanctuary cities.
“Despite the support of a bipartisan majority, the Senate has once again failed to act on a critical public safety issue,” Toomey said, following the vote. “Sanctuary cities are Orwellian in their logic — they give extra protection to dangerous criminals, just because they happen to be in the country illegally. This is a dangerous injustice that must be stopped, and I will continue to fight it.”
Cruz’s bill would have increased the maximum penalty on illegal immigrants who re-enter the U.S. illegally and it would have imposed a mandatory minimum sentence of five years on criminal aliens who reenter following a deportation.
“All Americans, regardless of Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, all Americans deserve to be protected, and we need a government that stops allowing violent illegal aliens to prey on the innocents,” Cruz said on the Senate floor in advance of the vote.
He continued, “If our Democratic colleagues make the choice to put politics over protecting innocent Americans, by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, the consequences of that are immense. Doing so is quite literally playing with people’s lives.”