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July 06, 2016

Inhofe Votes for Immigration Legislation to End Sanctuary Cities, Increase Penalties for Criminal Illegal Immigrants

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted for two pieces of immigration legislation in the Senate to address the government’s treatment of criminal aliens, to include denying federal dollars to sanctuary jurisdictions and to increase penalties for immigrants who illegally reenter the country after they have been deported. Both pieces of legislation were blocked by Senate Democrats on a cloture vote, which requires a 60-vote threshold for the legislation to progress. 

“Our immigration system is broken largely because of those who wish to eliminate and ignore our immigration laws altogether,” Inhofe said. “Across the country, over 300 cities, counties, and states are considered to have sanctuary policies creating safe havens for those seeking to evade our immigration laws, protecting them at the cost of not protecting American citizens. The murder of Kate Steinle by a five-times deported illegal immigrant with seven felony convictions shone a light on the dangers these policies pose for the rest of society. This murder happened because San Francisco is a sanctuary jurisdiction, and Ms. Steinle’s murderer told authorities he was in the city because he knew that he’d be safe from further deportation efforts. Unfortunately, this story is not an isolated incident. This is why I cosponsored and voted for the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act and Kate’s Law. It is my belief that one of our main priorities in Congress should be protecting our citizens from those who wish to do them harm, and both of these bills would accomplish this goal by providing incentives for local governments to cooperate with federal law enforcement efforts and by creating harsher penalties for those who choose to break our laws again and again. Every year that we allow illegal and criminal aliens to remain here and under the protection of so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ we diminish the sacrifices made by over a million immigrants each year who come here the right way, the legal way.”

Inhofe voted for the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act (S.3100), legislation sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would punish sanctuary jurisdictions by denying them federal dollars and would reward those jurisdictions that work with the federal government by reallocating money from sanctuary jurisdictions to compliant jurisdictions. The legislation would also protect local jurisdictions from civil suit for complying with a federal detainer.

Inhofe also voted for Kate’s Law, S. 2193, legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to increase penalties for individuals who illegally reenter the United States after being deported. It would also create a new penalty for any person denied admission or deported three or more times and then reenters illegally and would create a five year mandatory minimum for illegal reentry for an individual who has a prior felony or convicted of illegal reentry twice before.

Kate’s Law was introduced in response to the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco, a sanctuary jurisdiction, by a five-times deported illegal immigrant with seven felony convictions.

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