On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved two immigration enforcement amendments offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act. The bill includes funding for the Justice Department, and Rep. King's amendments addressed the recent report of more than 36,000 criminal illegal aliens being released from custody and sanctuary cities.
Rep. King's first amendment would reduce Justice Department salaries by $5 million and instead direct the funds to investigate why more than 36,000 illegal aliens who had been convicted of serious crimes where released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement while they awaited deportation. The amendment passed along mostly party lines, 218-to-193. Five Democrats joined with the Republicans, including Rep. Ron Barber of Arizona, Rep. John Barrow of Georgia, Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia. All five face tough re-election bids in the fall.
Nine Republicans voted against the amendment, including pro-amnesty supporters Mario Diaz-Balart, Peter King, David Valadao, and Jeff Denham.
Rep. King's second amendment prevented funds from the bill from being used to reimburse municipalities that provide sanctuary to illegal aliens. The amendment also passed mostly along party lines, 214-to-194. Nine Republicans opposed the amendment with Reps. Mike McIntyre and Barrow breaking from the Democrats.