Senate Democrats voted down procedural motions to begin debate on bills to strip funding from sanctuary cities (S. 3100) and impose stricter penalties on repeat border crossers (S. 2193). Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., complained the bills would undermine local law enforcement and overcrowd prisons. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the bills were supported by the law enforcement community and designed to prevent more murders by illegal aliens.

The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S. 3100), sponsored by Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., would have defined a "sanctuary city" as any state-level jurisdiction that fails to communicate with federal immigration officers or comply with a detainer request. The bill sought to block community and economic development grants to jurisdictions that fit the definition and protect local police from liability if they act on behalf of federal immigration agents. It did not target community policing grants, as Sen. Reid has suggested. "Kate's Law" (S. 2193), sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., would have imposed a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence on repeat border crossers.

Both bills needed 60 votes on cloture to begin debate. S. 3100 garnered 53 votes with Democrats Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., joining all Republicans except for Mark Kirk (Ill.). Democrats Donnelly, Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) joined 52 Republicans in support of S. 2193. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. and Mile Lee, R-Utah, did not vote on either bill.

In a floor speech defending the bills, Leader McConnell said, “Senator Toomey’s bill would support jurisdictions that cooperate with federal law enforcement officials and redirect funds to them from those places that would refuse to do so. It would also support law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every single day, protecting them from having to live in constant fear of being sued for simply doing their jobs…No wonder this bill has such broad support from the law enforcement community, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations."

McConnell continued, “Senator Toomey’s bill in conjunction with Senator Cruz’s bill aims to prevent more families from experiencing the heartache that Kate Steinle’s family has been forced to endure. It’s been a year since Kate was tragically murdered in San Francisco by a convicted felon who had been deported five times. What makes this tragedy even more heartbreaking is that it could have been prevented, but San Francisco had an extreme so-called sanctuary city policy of not complying with federal immigration laws, apparently, even when it came to detaining dangerous criminals residing in our country illegally…Americans from both parties know it would be incredibly dishonest to pretend this bill was aimed at law-abiding immigrants who enrich our country rather than who it is really aimed at – those who come to this country illegally and have criminal convictions. Americans from both parties also understand that extreme sanctuary city policies can inflict incredible pain on innocent victims and their families.”

Read more in CNS News.

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