Kate Steinle was brutally murdered on July 1 of this year by a man who reportedly was deported five times, providing a dramatic underscoring of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s politically incorrect comments on illegal immigration. Steinle’s murder fed a larger national conversation about illegals, and issue that until recently seemed foreordained to disappear in a legislative orgy of amnesty and open borders.
The Republican-dominated House of Representatives acted in response to the Steinle tragedy, voting Thursday 241-179 to pass H.R. 3009, the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act.” The bill is intended to deny federal law enforcement funding to the so-called “sanctuary cities” that provide protection for illegals who witness crimes. Five Republicans and six Democrats crossed party lines in the predominantly partisan vote.
The Obama administration, predictably, promised a veto shortly before the vote on the bill. At the same time Kate Steinle’s father was testifying before the House, the administration’s Office of Management and Budget released the following statement:
“This bill fails to offer comprehensive reforms needed to fix the nation’s broken immigration laws, undermines current administration efforts to remove the most dangerous convicted criminals and to work collaboratively with state and local law enforcement agencies, and threatens the civil rights of all Americans by authorizing state and local officials to collect information regarding any private citizen’s immigration status, at any time, for any reason, and without justification. If the President were presented with H.R. 3009, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.”
Opinion on the bill, unsurprisingly, is sharply divided on party lines.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, criticized the bill for degrading relations between immigrants and police. “Those convicted of committing acts of criminal violence must always face the full force of the law,” he said. “However, this legislation would only undermine the trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement. Second-guessing decisions made by law enforcement, withholding public safety funding, and demonizing immigrants will neither make our communities safer nor fix our broken immigration system.”
The ACLU echoed Hoyer’s arguments on its official blog. Joanne Lin of the Washington office of the ACLU said bluntly the bill offers “no solution” the illegal immigration problem.
Other House Democrats used the bill as an opportunity to mock Trump, dubbing the bill “the Trump bill,” and noting sarcastically he is more effective at getting legislation to the floor than his primary opponents.
Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, addressed the Trump accusations. “This is a valid concern that we’re voting on today. I’m not going to let Donald Trump dictate my vote.”
Other Republicans universally rejected the rest of the left-wing narrative, hammering home repeatedly that the Obama administration and the “sanctuary cities” are not only breaking the law, but contributing directly to violent crime against citizens.
Bombastic and popular Rep. Trey Gowdy put the issues succinctly when he asked “A refuge for whom? A sanctuary for whom? A sanctuary for Kate Steinle? Or a refuge for a convicted felon with a 25-year-long criminal history?”
Rep. Garret Graves, R-Louisiana noted the huge numbers of illegals during Obama’s tenure, and the problems they cause. “Reports indicate that over two and half million new illegal immigrants have flowed into America since 2009,” Graves said. “Cities that are providing sanctuary to these illegal immigrants perpetuate the problem by providing a safe haven from law enforcement and discouraging people from following the legal process to become Americans. These Sanctuary Cities place an additional burden on already strained federal resources.”
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, was sharply critical of the Obama administration’s conduct on immigration. Obama, King says, weakened our immigration laws by changing the verbiage in ICE detainers. These detainers are meant to keep illegals in custody so that immigration officials have time to determine if deportation is called for.
King also pointed out how many thousands of illegals are released from prisons as a result of ICE not being enforced, citing 48,000 violent crimes by 25,000 released individuals in 2011 alone. “So the revelation is breathtaking in this nation all because we refuse to enforce the law,” he said. “And this Congress saw it coming. I saw it 10 years ago. All because of politics, they’re pandering to people they know are law breakers. This was 100 percent preventable.”
House Speaker John Boehner summed it all up neatly. “We had a horrible tragedy that was preventable,” he said. “Cities do not have the right to ignore federal laws that require them to incarcerate people who commit serious felonies.”
As this episode once again demonstrates, the Obama administration and the hard left have no regard for the laws of the land. The leftists in the House, and the White House, are more than happy to continue to flout the rules, allowing massive numbers of illegals – who commit violent crimes, thefts, and DUI at a rate far greater than citizens – into our country with no repercussions. Their support for the sanctuary policies is further evidence that the left has no interest in protecting American citizens. The GOP might deny it, but Trump’s brash statements on immigration have changed the debate – and might just end up saving American lives.