Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

There's been a lot of public outcry in the year since the tragic shooting death of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle at the hands of a seven-times convicted and five-times deported illegal alien who was set free because of the city's sanctuary policies. But Congress has done little to force jurisdictions to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement even when it has detained a violent criminal alien.

That trend continued this week after most Senate Democrats blocked debate on a bill introduced by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have withheld certain federal funds from jurisdictions that don't cooperate with ICE.

The House, however, did approve an amendment on Thursday to the Financial Services spending bill offered by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.). Rep. Gosar's amendment blocked any funds from the bill from going to cities that refuse to cooperate with ICE. The amendment passed easily 236-182, but it was mostly a party-line vote.

One Democrat crossed the line to vote for the Gosar amendment -- Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas). Rep. Cuellar, who represents a border district in Texas, has taken a stronger position on immigration enforcement since the 2014 border surge.

Six Republicans sided with the Democrats in opposing the amendment -- Reps. David Valadao of California, Bob Dold of Illinois, David Reichert of Washington, and Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. None of the six were really a surprise.

There will likely be more votes on blocking funds for Sanctuary Cities as the 2017 spending bills continue to come to the House floor, but since it's unlikely that the House and Senate will agree on any of the measures, the chances for any of them making it to Pres. Obama's desk for his signature are slim. Still, all these votes are a good opportunity to see where Members of Congress stand on the issues.

The Senate voted down two bills on Wednesday -- Sen. Toomey's Sanctuary Cities bill and Sen. Ted Cruz's "Kate's Law." Both received majority support but fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) broke with the Democrats on both votes to advance the bills. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) opposed the Toomey bill, but did vote in favor of the Cruz bill.

To no real surprise, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois was the only Republican to oppose the Toomey sanctuary cities bill. He did vote for "Kate's law".

You can read more about the Senate debate here.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA

sanctuary cities
Interior Enforcement

Updated: Thu, Jul 28th 2016 @ 10:30am EDT

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