The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote later this week on legislation that would ban federal funds for “sanctuary cities,” or major cities throughout the nation that have laws allowing local governments to ignore federal law, specifically on immigration.
After the death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, California, on July 1 by an undocumented immigrant, sanctuary cities have been negatively attributed to the politics of illegal immigration, with presidential candidates denouncing the cities’ laws. Steinle was allegedly shot by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an immigrant who had been deported five times previously for non-violent offenses, The Hill reported.
In response to the continued presence of sanctuary cities, Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter of California has introduced legislation that would bar federal grants from going to states with statues that contradict those that have already been set by the federal government. Hunter’s proposal focuses more on illegal immigration; in other words, if states are blocking federal officials from receiving information about suspected illegal immigrants, then they would no longer be allowed to collect federal funds.
Hunter’s measure, titled the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act,” will have a vote on July 23, The Hill noted.
As stated above, some presidential candidates have used this issue to further their own messages and increase awareness over what they perceive to be a major issue. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump previously made controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during his announcement speech on June 16. He later used the death of Kate Steinle to solidify his point of view on illegal immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border.
Steinle’s father, Jim, will testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee later Tuesday along with the head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, CNN reported. However, some members of Congress have already decided how they will vote on the measure. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat who represents the city of San Francisco in Congress, told CNN via a spokesperson that she will not support Hunter’s legislation.
So far, the efforts to halt the laws of sanctuary cities has been successful in Congress. On July 15, the House Appropriations Committee, the committee that deals with budgeting and federal funding for cities and states, passed an amendment authored by Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas that would withhold funding from cities with sanctuary city policies already in place, Breitbart News reported.
However, the efforts to undo any laws set forth by sanctuary cities can be a long and complicated process. This was seen in the spring of 2011 in Texas, a well-known conservative state, as state Republicans were accused by Democratic lawmakers of using “unfair tactics” to advance their legislation, which allowed local law enforcement to assist federal officials in enforcing illegal immigration policies, Valley Central reported.
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