WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today voted to strengthen U.S. immigration laws by supporting two measures aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities. The bills – both of which Wicker has cosponsored – needed 60 votes to move forward. Each measure was blocked by Senate Democrats.
“Sanctuary policies undermine enforcement of our immigration laws, leaving our communities vulnerable to dangerous criminals and suspected terrorists,” Wicker said. “We have a responsibility to protect American citizens. These bills target criminals who are not only here illegally but also have committed additional crimes or reentered the country after repeatedly being denied or deported. It is disappointing that Democrats have blocked the Senate from passing real, meaningful immigration reform.”
The “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act,” S. 3100 – authored by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. – would withhold certain federal funds from cities with sanctuary policies in an effort to convince these cities to allow their law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials.
The second measure, S. 2193, authored by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and commonly referred to as “Kate’s Law,” would enhance penalties for illegal reentry, an action commonly protected by sanctuary jurisdictions. The measure is named after Kate Steinle, who was killed on a San Francisco pier as she was walking with her father. The shooter was an illegal immigrant who had previously been convicted of seven felonies and deported five times. Prior to her murder, the shooter had been in the custody of local police but was released in accordance with San Francisco’s “sanctuary” policies, despite a detainer request. “Kate’s Law” provides a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for any illegal immigrant who re-enters the country after having been convicted of an aggravated felony or after having been convicted twice of illegally reentering the United States.
Last fall, Wicker supported the “Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act,” which was authored by Sen. David. Vitter, R-La., and encompassed both of the blocked bills, in most respects.
In the 113th Congress, Wicker led a similar effort to deny federal funds and law enforcement grants to sanctuary cities.