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Senate To Discuss Bills On Immigration Controls

| by Jordan Smith

The Senate is to consider two bills related to immigration and policy toward "sanctuary cities" on June 29.

The first is referred to as Kate's Law and would create stiffer penalties for individuals repeatedly entering the U.S. illegally if they have criminal charges against them, CNN reported.

The bill is named after Kate Steinle, a woman who was murdered by an immigrant with a criminal past who was in the country illegally.

Immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally on three or more occasions could face imprisonment for up to 10 years, if the bill passes.

The second piece of legislation, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would grant additional powers to the federal government to compel "sanctuary cities" to abide by federal immigration policy. This would include an option for the federal government to withhold law enforcement grants to those jurisdictions that refuse to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers, a request made by ICE for local authorities to hold an individual they are seeking for up to 48 hours.

Neither bill is expected to pass the Senate, as 60 votes would be required for them to proceed. The Republicans currently have a 52-48 majority.

In 2016, three Democrats joined the Republicans in backing an earlier version of Kate's Law.

Both bills are being sponsored by members of Congress with records of opposition to immigration. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has made controversial remarks about immigrants in the past, is a lead sponsor. Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, which submitted both bills for consideration, is an advocate of strict immigration controls.

Shortly after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order stating that large numbers of immigrants in the country illegally "present a significant threat to national security and public safety," according to Business Insider.

Critics have attacked the initiatives for portraying all immigrants as criminals. Several studies have shown that immigrants, including immigrants in the U.S. illegally, commit crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans.

But ICE head Thomas Homan insists more must be done to clamp down on criminal organizations, which he said are smuggling people into the country.

At a press conference on June 28, he defended the two bills.

"People weren't with me when I found dead aliens on a trail that were abandoned by smugglers," Homan said in response to a reporter questioning the grounds for the new measures, according to The Washington Times. "People were not with me when I was in Phoenix, Arizona, seeing these people being held hostage and their smuggling rates being doubled; the families couldn't pay them so women were raped, children were molested, or the smuggled alien was killed at the hands of these organizations."

Would Kate's Law prevent more murders?
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