U.S. House passes pair of bills aimed at tighter immigration enforcement
WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives on June 29 passed two bills in an effort to crack down on undocumented immigration and sanctuary cities.
The “No Sanctuary for Criminals” Act, also known as HR 3003, would strip federal grant eligibility from sanctuary cities which seek to harbour and protect undocumented immigrants from federal immigration authorities. It would ban any legal authority from seeking to prohibit or impede the enforcement of or compliance with national immigration law.
Dozens of such cities exist throughout the country, largely concentrated in California, which have some law or set of laws seeking to inhibit local cooperation with national policies.
The topic had been addressed just weeks before by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal DiNardo said June 9 at a migration conference that local law enforcement authorities should not be compelled to enforce federal immigration law, as this “would fundamentally alter the relationship between our local law enforcement officials maintain with our local communities, especially immigrant communities.”
He also warned that this “burden” would “tak(e) away from their efforts to ensure public safety” as they “pursu(e) those who are otherwise-law abiding.”
The House also passed a bill dubbed “Kate’s Law” which would establish mandatory minimum sentencing for deported immigrants who return to the country.
According to the Washington Post, the American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the bill for penalizing those fleeing persecution in their home country.
The bishops have been very vocal in recent months in speaking out against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and proposals, calling for a balance of national security and welcoming migrants.
The current administration has deported nearly 66,000 undocumented immigrants, according to Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. This constitutes a spike from President Obama’s final years in office.