Donald Trump’s campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration is one of the primary reasons he is now President Trump – and House Republicans are backing him up. Last week, Fox News published an op-ed in which Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions implored Congress to pass the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act and Kate’s Law to make America safer. Apparently, Congress listened. Both bills passed the House last Thursday, June 28. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) sponsored the bills on June 22 – a mere week before the House passed them both – each bill features the names of victims recently killed by illegal aliens.
H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law, is named for Kate Steinle, who was shot in the back two years ago as she enjoyed a stroll with her father along one of San Francisco’s tourist piers. The man charged with her murder, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was a seven-time felon and had already been deported five times. AG Sessions explained to Fox News how this murder and many others could have easily been avoided:
Lopez-Sanchez should never have been on that pier with Kate. He should have been in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). And he would have been if San Francisco had only notified ICE of his release from the city’s custody, as ICE had requested.
Kate’s Law amends Section 276 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1326). The current law allows for any illegal alien who is caught returning to or trying to come back to the United States to be fined, sentenced to prison time, or both. The amount of time varies depending on the circumstances. This amendment changes both the conditions and the potential penalties. Additionally, it removes the two exceptions that allow some illegal aliens to avoid the penalty. Subsection (b) of the current law reads:
(b) Criminal penalties for reentry of certain removed aliens
Notwithstanding subsection (a), in the case of any alien described in such subsection-
(1) whose removal was subsequent to a conviction for commission of three or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against the person, or both, or a felony (other than an aggravated felony), such alien shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both;
(2) whose removal was subsequent to a conviction for commission of an aggravated felony, such alien shall be fined under such title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both;
(3) who has been excluded from the United States pursuant to section 1225(c) of this title because the alien was excludable under section 1182(a)(3)(B) of this title or who has been removed from the United States pursuant to the provisions of subchapter V, and who thereafter, without the permission of the Attorney General, enters the United States, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under title 18 and imprisoned for a period of 10 years, which sentence shall not run concurrently with any other sentence.1 or
(4) who was removed from the United States pursuant to section 1231(a)(4)(B) of this title who thereafter, without the permission of the Attorney General, enters, attempts to enter, or is at any time found in, the United States (unless the Attorney General has expressly consented to such alien’s reentry) shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
Under Kate’s Law, (1) is expanded to be any misdemeanor and any felony so long as the resultant sentence was less than thirty months. (2) would net any such alien previously sentenced to thirty months or more a fine, fifteen years, or both. (3) gives any alien sentenced to at least sixty months – five years – imprisonment before their last deportation a fine, incarceration up to twenty years, or both. Finally, (4) would give a fine, a prison sentence up to twenty-five years, or both to any alien deported after being convicted of “murder, rape, kidnapping, or a felony offense described in chapter 77 (relating to peonage and slavery) or 113B (relating to terrorism) of such title, or for 3 or more felonies of any kind.” The amended subsection (c) allows for any illegal alien caught crossing or attempting to cross the border after being removed three times to be fined, imprisoned for up to ten years, or both.
The law further defines removal as any “denial of admission, exclusion, deportation, or removal, or any agreement by which an alien stipulates or agrees to exclusion, deportation, or removal.” Crossing the border refers to physically crossing the border, regardless of whether the alien is free from official restraint. Additionally, subsection (g) states that any alien removed from the country rather than serving a pending sentence would serve the entire sentence upon capture if caught coming back – without any reduction for parole or supervised release – unless they can prove the Department of Homeland Security has granted permission for their reentry. Without the addition of subsection (g), this clause would have been removed with the replacement of subsection (c).
Unbeknownst to many Americans, the official law of the land already deals quite harshly with illegal aliens who return to the States after being removed for committing certain crimes. However, this law contains exceptions and isn’t always enforced. Kate’s Law expands the qualifying crimes considerably, eliminates the exceptions and, presumably, requires enforcement of the law across the board. Should this bill become law, illegal aliens who victimize U.S. citizens would theoretically spend more time locked away between trips back to their home countries – especially if the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act passes as well.