Ayotte backs bills aimed at limiting sanctuary cities, deported illegal immigrants
By NBP Staff | July 7, 2016, 6:41 EDT
U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), stood with her party’s leadership and voted for a pair of measures Thursday — the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act and Kate’s Law — aimed at limiting the influence of “sanctuary cities” and keeping previously deported illegal immigrants out of the country.
The Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) would redirect federal funds from those jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials and to those that comply with U.S. immigration laws. It also supports law enforcement officers from the threat of lawsuits for simply doing their jobs.
The Stop Sanctuary Policies and Protect Americans Act, sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and nicknamed “Kate’s Law”, in honor of Kate Steinle, who was killed last year by an illegal immigrant who shot her while she was walking along the waterfront in San Francisco, would increase mandatory minimum sentences for immigrants convicted of repeatedly entering the U.S. illegally.
“Keeping our country safe requires not only the strict enforcement of existing immigration laws, but also cooperation between state, local, and federal law enforcement and continued efforts to secure our Southern border,” Ayotte said in a news release.
“Sanctuary cities – where local officials deliberately refuse and ignore federal immigration law – are dangerous and unsustainable. These bills take much-needed action to strengthen our security, prevent future tragedies from occurring, and limit federal funds to hold local jurisdictions accountable for following the law. I’m disappointed that the Senate did not advance these bills today, but I will keep pushing for measures like these to keep our country safe.”
But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, put forth by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), would “undermine the ability of local law enforcement to police their own communities to ensure public safety.”
“Senator Toomey’s legislation would simply create more problems. It wouldn’t solve anything. Not surprising I suppose why mayors, domestic violence groups, Latino and civil rights groups and labor organizations,” Reid said. “Senator Cruz’s bill is no better.”
Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) disagreed with Reid’s assessment that the bills would create more problems than they solve.
“We’re a nation of immigrants. We all appreciate the many contributions that immigrants have made to our country over the years,” McConnell said.
“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,” he said.
“President Obama’s own secretary of Homeland Security has called sanctuary city policies not acceptable and counterproductive to public safety,” McConnell said.
McConnell noted that the Senate “took up similar measures last year, and it was unfortunate to see them blocked.” He urged the chamber to work together “to make the right choice and advance these measures to prevent more tragedies like Kate’s and to support local law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line for us every day.”
CNSNews contributed to this report.