Trump looks beyond health care to immigration agenda

The news is full of reports of the imminent demise of the GOP health care reform bill in the Senate.  Don't believe it.  The president has yet to apply the screws to reluctant GOP senators.  And Mitch McConnell may have a trick or two up his sleeve, so don't bet against some form of health care reform being passed in the upper chamber in the next few days.

President Trump and the GOP Congress are already looking beyond health care reform to enact several pieces of the president's immigration agenda.  Two important pieces of legislation will be voted on by the House before the July 4 recess that would fulfill campaign promises made by candidate Trump.

CNN:

The bills, "Kate's Law" and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would install harsher penalties for repeat illegal entry to the US, and expand US law on sanctuary cities to pressure localities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

But it's unlikely either would have enough votes to pass the Senate, which struggled with Kate's Law last year.

Immigration and civil liberties advocates have also come out swinging against the bills, saying they bolster a "deportation force" and anti-immigrant agenda from the Trump administration.

Both bills come from the Judiciary Committee led by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a longtime proponent of strict immigration policies like Trump's and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Another lead sponsor is Iowa Rep. Steve King, one of the most aggressive Republicans on immigration enforcement who has a history of controversial statements about immigrants.

Kate's Law is named for Kate Steinle, a young woman in San Francisco who was murdered on a pier on the Embarcadero allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who was a repeat felon and was deported multiple times. Saturday is the two-year anniversary of her death.

The bill would raise the maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the US illegally, with escalating penalties for the number of repeat offenses and for other criminal acts. For example, someone who re-enters the US illegally with a felony conviction or three misdemeanors on their record could be imprisoned for up to 10 years. An undocumented immigrant who illegally crosses after being deported three or more times would also serve up to 10 years. ...

The sanctuary cities bill would change the law to give the administration far more ability to go after jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

The bill would give the federal government one of its biggest asks – requiring localities to comply with "detainers." Immigration and Customs Enforcement can request that law enforcement detain suspected deportable individuals an extra 48 hours beyond what would be required by criminal law, but currently many jurisdictions do not comply with the requests. Some cite a desire to retain cooperation of immigrant witnesses and victims of crimes, others note that federal courts have held such detentions are unconstitutional.

There is currently no law requiring jurisdictions honor the requests.

Both bills face strong opposition from Democrats in the Senate, so they probably won't even come to the floor for a vote.  It is doubtful that McConnell can get eight Democrat senators to cross the aisle and vote to end a certain filibuster.

But if Republicans are smart, they will run on Democratic opposition to both bills.  There are several vulnerable Democrat senators running in 2018, and highlighting their refusal to keep criminal illegal aliens out of the country would be potent politics.

Trump has effectively used executive orders to implement parts of his immigration reform agenda.  But Congress needs to go the rest of the way with him.  With 25 Senate Democrats and independents up for re-election in 2018 compared to just eight Republican seats, the opportunity for huge GOP gains that would bring a close to veto-proof majority to power cannot be dismissed.

The news is full of reports of the imminent demise of the GOP health care reform bill in the Senate.  Don't believe it.  The president has yet to apply the screws to reluctant GOP senators.  And Mitch McConnell may have a trick or two up his sleeve, so don't bet against some form of health care reform being passed in the upper chamber in the next few days.

President Trump and the GOP Congress are already looking beyond health care reform to enact several pieces of the president's immigration agenda.  Two important pieces of legislation will be voted on by the House before the July 4 recess that would fulfill campaign promises made by candidate Trump.

CNN:

The bills, "Kate's Law" and the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would install harsher penalties for repeat illegal entry to the US, and expand US law on sanctuary cities to pressure localities to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

But it's unlikely either would have enough votes to pass the Senate, which struggled with Kate's Law last year.

Immigration and civil liberties advocates have also come out swinging against the bills, saying they bolster a "deportation force" and anti-immigrant agenda from the Trump administration.

Both bills come from the Judiciary Committee led by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a longtime proponent of strict immigration policies like Trump's and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Another lead sponsor is Iowa Rep. Steve King, one of the most aggressive Republicans on immigration enforcement who has a history of controversial statements about immigrants.

Kate's Law is named for Kate Steinle, a young woman in San Francisco who was murdered on a pier on the Embarcadero allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who was a repeat felon and was deported multiple times. Saturday is the two-year anniversary of her death.

The bill would raise the maximum prison penalties for immigrants caught repeatedly entering the US illegally, with escalating penalties for the number of repeat offenses and for other criminal acts. For example, someone who re-enters the US illegally with a felony conviction or three misdemeanors on their record could be imprisoned for up to 10 years. An undocumented immigrant who illegally crosses after being deported three or more times would also serve up to 10 years. ...

The sanctuary cities bill would change the law to give the administration far more ability to go after jurisdictions that do not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

The bill would give the federal government one of its biggest asks – requiring localities to comply with "detainers." Immigration and Customs Enforcement can request that law enforcement detain suspected deportable individuals an extra 48 hours beyond what would be required by criminal law, but currently many jurisdictions do not comply with the requests. Some cite a desire to retain cooperation of immigrant witnesses and victims of crimes, others note that federal courts have held such detentions are unconstitutional.

There is currently no law requiring jurisdictions honor the requests.

Both bills face strong opposition from Democrats in the Senate, so they probably won't even come to the floor for a vote.  It is doubtful that McConnell can get eight Democrat senators to cross the aisle and vote to end a certain filibuster.

But if Republicans are smart, they will run on Democratic opposition to both bills.  There are several vulnerable Democrat senators running in 2018, and highlighting their refusal to keep criminal illegal aliens out of the country would be potent politics.

Trump has effectively used executive orders to implement parts of his immigration reform agenda.  But Congress needs to go the rest of the way with him.  With 25 Senate Democrats and independents up for re-election in 2018 compared to just eight Republican seats, the opportunity for huge GOP gains that would bring a close to veto-proof majority to power cannot be dismissed.

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