House readies vote on denying funds to sanctuary cities

House Republicans have put the finishing touches on a bill that would deny millions of dollars in federal funding to cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.

Washington Examiner:

The legislation was added Monday to the House schedule, and according to a spokesman from the office of the Majority Leader. The earliest that vote could come is Thursday, since the House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday evening to agree on rules for debate and voting on the legislation.

The "Enforce the law for Sanctuary Cities Act," would withhold several kinds of federal grants for police and immigration services in cities that intentionally ignore immigration laws.

The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and while he first proposed the measure in 2011, it has become a sudden priority for the GOP leadership in the wake of the the July 1 shooting death of Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier.

The House measure could cost sanctuary cities tens of millions of dollars in policing grants and grants to help cities cope with the influx criminal illegal immigrants. Specifically, it would shut down grants that states use under a criminal alien assistance program, and cut grants under the Community-Oriented Policing Services program to states with policies that go against federal immigration law.

States that prohibit law enforcement from gathering information about citizenship or immigration status would also be denied funding.

The bill has wide support from House GOP lawmakers, and is one of several legislative responses that have come in the wake of Steinle's death.

Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., has introduced "Kate's law," which would mandate a five-year prison sentence for anyone who returns to the United States after being deported.

"By instituting mandatory minimums for those who illegally reenter our nation after already having been deported, we help dissuade those who so casually disregard our laws and continue to victimize Americans," Salmon said.

This is an idea that is long overdue and should pass the House with ease.  But the Senate will be a different story.  It's not that there's any love lost for sanctuary cities; it's the idea that cutting these grants will affect big-city police budgets.  As crime rates begin to rise, big-city police departments become even more dependent on federal dollars.  Even some Republican senators might balk at cutting police budgets in the midst of a crime wave.

The Senate is expected to pick up the debate in the fall.