The House passed a bill Thursday which would punish cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration law.
H.R. 3009 passed easily in the lower chamber 241 to 179, The Hill reported. The bill would force local law enforcement agencies to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they have an illegal immigrant in custody; otherwise, certain federal law enforcement grants would be withheld.
“I think we can all agree that any state or locality must comply with the law—and they are required to coordinate and cooperate with the federal government,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who sponsored the legislation. “If an arrest is made, the federal government should be notified. The fact that San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities disagree with the politics of federal enforcement doesn’t mean they should receive a pass to subvert the law.”
“And if they do, there needs to be consequences—and the way we impose those consequences is by hitting them where it hurts. In the pocketbook,” Hunter added.
The bill was passed after 32-year-old Kate Steinle was murdered earlier this month, allegedly by an illegal immigrant who was deported from the U.S. multiple times and convicted of several felonies.
Hunter’s bill was voted on largely across party lines. Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Bob Dold of Illinois, Dan Donovan and Peter King of New York, and Dave Reichert of Washington were the only GOP members of Congress to vote against the measure. Six Democrats voted for the bill: Reps. Ami Bera of California, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Bill Keating of Massachusetts, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Krysten Sinema of Arizona.
Opponents of the bill have tied it to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who in a statement earlier this week labeled the proposal the “Donald Trump Act.” Pelosi went on to call the bill a “wildly partisan, misguided bill that second-guesses the decisions of police chiefs around the country about how to best ensure public safety.”
“Just a few weeks into his campaign and Donald Trump has a bill on the floor of the House. That is better than some of the senators he’s running against,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a fierce opponent of conservative immigration measures, told The Hill Thursday.
Meanwhile in the upper chamber, Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., introduced legislation comparable Tuesday to what has been passed in the House. The legislation, entitled the Protecting American Lives Act, goes a step further with language that includes a mandatory five-year prison sentence for any deported illegal immigrant who re-enters the U.S. illegally.