House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday he’s whipping votes against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act — a measure requiring cities to comply with federal immigration authorities at the risk of losing grants from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.
A large number of Republicans argue sanctuary cities — which are aimed at safeguarding undocumented immigrants from deportation — need to be eliminated in order to protect citizens from violent crimes committed by those here illegally.
“Most law enforcement is opposed to this bill. The reason they are is because if you have crime and people who are victims of crime are afraid to come forward and report that, law enforcement believes it is undermining its ability to keep safe neighborhoods safe and communities safe,” he told reporters Tuesday. “And so they overwhelmingly indicated this is not a positive for their communities.
While the Maryland Democrat is against the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, he noted the other bill relating to sanctuary cities slated to be brought up this week, Kate’s Law, contains more complicated issues.
Kate’s Law, sponsored by Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, was crafted to increase penalties on illegal aliens who commit violent crimes and prevent them from re-entering the country after being deported. The legislation was named for Kathryn Steinle, who was reportedly shot and killed by an illegal alien. The alleged killer had been previously been deported on five separate occasions and convicted of felonies in the past.
“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.”
Hoyer said he isn’t whipping votes on the measure but instead encouraging members to “carefully look” at the measure.
The White House has repeatedly stated the administration is prioritizing legislation to curb illegal immigration.
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