The White House has put its weight behind two House bills to crack down on illegal immigration, a hallmark of President Donald Trump’s campaign.
Issuing statements of administration policy Tuesday, the White House endorsed a bill known as Kate’s Law that would strengthen penalties on criminal illegal immigrants.
The administration also said it backs a bill to restrict federal funding to “sanctuary cities,” which are municipalities that refuse to help enforce federal immigration laws.
Kate’s Law is named for Kate Steinle, 32, who was shot and killed two years ago on a popular pier in San Francisco in front of her father.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, charged in Steinle’s death, is an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times and had seven felony convictions. Yet he returned to the United States and San Francisco, a sanctuary city.
Kate’s Law would increase penalties that judges may impose on criminal aliens convicted of illegal re-entry, with the goal of deterring their return.
In a statement, the Office of Management and Budget said the Trump administration “strongly supports” the measure. If Congress passes and sends the bill to the president in its current form, the agency said, “his advisers would recommend that he sign the bill into law.”
The other legislation, called the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, would ensure that grants from the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security don’t subsidize state and local governments that actively disobey federal immigration enforcement efforts.
Instead, the bill would redirect federal taxpayer dollars to state and local governments that adhere to federal law.
“The administration is committed to strengthening enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws in order to improve national security and public safety. This legislation is critical to these efforts,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy.
The agency added that if Congress passes and sends the legislation to Trump, “his advisers would recommend that he sign the bill into law.”
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sponsored both bills. The committee recently made a video to promote the legislation.
In the video, Goodlatte says:
Our bills crack down on dangerous sanctuary policies that needlessly put innocent lives at risk.
They keep our streets safe by enhancing penalties for deported felons who return to the United States and by ensuring unlawful immigrants convicted of drunk driving, and arrested for other dangerous crimes, are detained and deported.
We have much work to do to make our immigration system work better for America, but these bills are a good first step.