New Laws to Impose Harsher Sentences on Deported Criminal Aliens Who Re-Enter US
Immigration has been a topic of great debate in light of President Donald Trump‘s recent legislation initiatives. While he is softening his stance and making compromises with Democrats, this summer has seen two new bills — which impose harsher sentences on deported criminal aliens who re-enter the United States — pass through the House.
Kathryn Steinle was shot and killed by Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, an illegal immigrant, in San Francisco on July 1, 2015. López-Sánchez illegally obtained a firearm, and the bullet from his .40 caliber ricocheted off the sidewalk, hitting Steinle in the back. She died two hours later from complications of the gun wound.
This became a major source of controversy during the 2016 presidential election. Prior to gunning down Steinle, López-Sánchez had been deported back to Mexico on five separate occasions, and he holds seven convicted felonies.
Kate’s Law has been created in reaction to this catastrophe. The bill hopes to enforce tougher prison sentences and proper examination of deported illegal immigrants who return to the United States.
The second bill that Republicans are hoping to push through – the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act – is an effort to prevent states and localities from denying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Failure to comply with the bill would mean a cutback of Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security grants, which are necessary to help many states and cities pay for law enforcement agents and anti-terrorism endeavors.
The No Sanctuary for Criminals Act is in direct response to certain sanctuary cities, such as San Francisco. There was an outstanding warrant for López-Sánchez for marijuana-related charges, and a request from federal immigration offices to hold him, after he was released from a four-year federal prison sentence for illegal immigration. However, the sanctuary status of the city allowed for his discharge.
López-Sánchez was released on April 15, 2015, just a few months before his deadly encounter with Steinle.
“Opposing these bills – and allowing dangerous criminals back into our communities, our schools, and the neighborhoods where our children play – puts all of us at risk,” President Trump said.
The two bills have been passed in the House and now await a vote in the Senate.
Representative Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, believes that “if you’re going to receive taxpayer dollars from the federal government to keep people safe, you’ve got to follow the law and keep them safe.”
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