A handful of Senate Democrats will decide if two immigration reform bills passed by the House will become law.
Most Democratic Senators — and the party’s Senate leadership — will oppose the two modest bills. But the bills will become law if the 52 GOP Senators are joined by at least eight Democrats who calculate that GOP-funded campaign attack ads in the 2018 elections are a greater risk to their careers than the inevitable pre-election anger from the Democrats’ anti-reform, anti-GOP base.
In the June 29 House vote, 166 Democratic legislators voted against “Kate’s Law,” but 24 Democrats voted for the law, which raises potential jail sentences for repatriated illegals who sneak back into the United States. The bill is named after Kate Steinle, an attractive young woman who was murdered by an illegal alien in 2015 who had returned to the United States multiples times after being sent home.
Only three House Democrats voted for the “No Sanctuary for Criminals Act,” which also passed June 29. The sanctuary bill allows the federal government to withdraw several categories of funds from jurisdictions which hinder the enforcement of immigration law.
White House officials and immigration reformers from advocacy groups NumbersUSA and the Federation for American Immigration Reform are promising an intense P.R. campaign before the eventual Senate vote.
The dilemma facing the Democratic Senators was highlighted by TheHill.com, in an article about the Democratic Senators who will decide the bills’ fates:
A top House Democratic aide predicted that “Kate’s Law” would be used in campaign ads against vulnerable Democrats.
“The ad writes itself,” said the aide. “They’re gonna use Kate Steinle’s picture in a Willie Horton-style ad,” referring to a controversial 1988 TV ad used by President George H.W. Bush’s campaign against Michael Dukakis…
Their targets would likely include Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Jon Tester(Mont.) — each up for reelection next year in states won by Trump.
Notably, the article also quotes Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who promised Democratic opposition — but did not predict that his party would stop both bills.
“Democrats are not going to stand for harsh anti-immigration measures, we’re not,” he said. “If they’re not willing to meaningfully dialogue with us about immigration reform, you’re not going to see us embracing their super-partisan anti-immigration bill.”
Kate’s law is popular. “Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters favor a five-year mandatory prison sentence for illegal immigrants convicted of major felonies who return to America after being deported … just 27% oppose such legislation, while 18% are undecided,” said a 2015 poll by Rasmussen Reports.
Read the TheHill.com’s article here.